I can’t believe I have to write an article telling people not to take an anti-parasitic meant for animals. If your response is, “WHAT?” like it was for many of my friends when I told them, let me explain: apparently people are taking ivermectin intended for horses to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m writing satire for “The Onion” because how is this real life? I mean, the jokes just write themselves except — EXCEPT — it’s not a joke at all! It’s life and death serious. All because the latest conspiracy to pass through empty heads claims that big pharma and big medicine don’t want us to know about ivermectin and its alleged COVID preventing and treating effects.
As the Delta variant of COVID transmission rates soar, there has been increased interest in ivermectin as people — regardless of vaccination status — become worried about getting infected. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that the Mississippi Poison Control Center has received a spike in calls due to people taking ivermectin intended for animals (such as livestock and horses).
Also, why are we not shocked it’s in Mississippi? (By the way, Mississippi leads our glorious union with the second least number of COVID vaccinations.)
In a surprise to no one except perhaps the people who took the ivermectin, the version made for humans is different than the version for livestock. Please remember that livestock are cattle — as in animals much huger than the average human. And thus, because it’s made for big beasts of burden, ivermectin for livestock is “highly concentrated and is toxic to people, and can cause serious harm,” according to the Mississippi State Department of Health in a statement released August 20.
According to the Mississippi Poison Control Center, at least 70% of their recent calls involve people taking ivermectin purchased from livestock supply centers and at least two people have been hospitalized because of potential ivermectin toxicity after taking the drug intended for cattle.
Lest you think this idiocy is singular to Mississippi, the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix and the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center in Tucson have also seen an uptick in calls about people taking ivermectin slated for horses and cows.
The fact that some farm supply stores have had to either label ivermectin as not for human use or remove it from shelves entirely tells you all you need to know.
What is ivermectin?
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that is FDA approved for both humans and animals. In humans (that’s us, in case you need some clarification), ivermectin is usually in pill form to help treat parasitic worms in people. There is also a topical form you can use to treat head lice and rosacea and other skin conditions. In livestock, it’s used to prevent heartworm disease and certain parasites.
Nowhere on there is approval to be used with COVID-19 — let alone viruses of any sort. People do realize that parasites aren’t the same as viruses, right? Like, yes, they’re similar because both types generally cannot reproduce outside of a host, but different because viruses are not technically alive or considered living organisms.
While there is evidence of ivermectin being an effective anti-viral in vitro (which means in a test tube or petri dish — as in NOT in a living organism), there are currently no studies of ivermectin in living organisms — human or otherwise.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this. Folks are really out here refusing FREE vaccines that have undergone multiple clinical trials — based on actual humans and proven safe for actual humans — but are fine with ingesting ivermectin (usually meant for livestock) for off-label uses?
Let’s put this in perspective: from December 14, 2020 through August 23, 2021, the COVID vaccine has been reported — not even linked, just reported — in 0.0019% deaths among the more than 363 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has “…met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization.” Woodcock added, “As the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product.”
What are the side effects of ivermectin?
On the other hand, ivermectin can and will 100% harm you — even at levels approved for human use. The drug can interact and interfere with other medications like blood-thinners. Plus, you can overdose on ivermectin — even in small amounts, which can cause diarrhea, low blood pressure, dizziness, problems with balance, allergic reactions such as itching and hives, seizures, coma, and death.
“Many inactive ingredients found in animal products aren’t evaluated for use in people. Or they are included in much greater quantity than those used in people,” said the FDA in a statement. “In some cases, we don’t know how those inactive ingredients will affect how ivermectin is absorbed in the human body.”
“This is medical treatment. You wouldn’t get your chemotherapy at a feed store. I mean, you wouldn’t want to treat your pneumonia with your animal’s medication,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in a Zoom call last week. “It can be dangerous to get the wrong doses of medication, especially for something that’s meant for a horse or a cow. So we understand the environment we live in. But it’s really important if people have medical needs to go through your physician or provider.”
What can we do to keep ourselves safe from COVID?
Oh, come on. Why do I have to keep writing the same shit over and over again? You know this. (Although, admittedly, I am likely preaching to the choir by now.) Get vaccinated with the proven and safe COVID-19 vaccines. You have three from which to choose. If you prefer the FDA’s stamp of approval, choose the Pfizer vaccine.
Properly wear a face-covering mask when indoors — and outdoors, too, if you cannot maintain the appropriate 6 foot social distance. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid crowds. And for the love of carbs, don’t take an anti-parasitic when you need a vaccine to avoid a preventable disease.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.