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First, the FBI began to crack down on vitamin C infusion treatments at medspas that proprietors claimed could cure coronavirus. Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is joining in with a series of warning letters to stop sellers from making erroneous claims about nonexistent corona cures.
Among the list of unproven products and treatments advertised to cure COVID-19 are Chinese herbs, bio-electric shields, UV light therapy, vitamin C infusions, acupuncture, essential oils, and listening to a music CD with varying sound frequencies. The FTC has been busy monitoring social media and online marketplaces and investigating consumer complaints to find which companies have been misrepresenting the effectiveness of their products. Of the list of warning letters sent out, brands like Arbonne and doTERRA were cited for business representatives tagging products as #ImmunitySupport and #ImproveRespitoryFunction.
Vetting Advertised Treatments
So, how do you know if an advertised treatment or product can really boost your immunity or help prevent or treat COVID-19? “There aren’t any products you can buy online, or services you can get at your neighborhood clinic that are proven to work,” says Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Frederic Haberman, MD. “If there’s a medical cure or medical breakthrough, you’re certainly not going to hear about it for the first time through Facebook, Twitter, an ad or sales pitch.”
When it comes to medical treatments, the doctors we spoke to say always know before you go. “Make sure your doctor is board certified,” says Prospect, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD. “Doctors certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties go through significant training and ‘Do No Harm’ is rule number one when you take the Hippocratic oath.”
“Do your research,” warns Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias. “Research who is treating you, what specialty they are trained in, and what treatment they are proposing. Speak to friends, ask for references. That being said, there is currently no cure for COVID-19 so if someone offers you one run as fast as you can.”
Sources You Can Trust
“My biggest fear is that someone would suggest tanning, or tanning beds, as it has been mentioned that they think sunlight and heat kill the virus,” says Chicago dermatologist Carolyn I. Jacob, MD. “Any advice on preventing or treating the virus should come from the Centers for Disease Control recommendation or a board-certified infectious disease or internal medicine doctor. They are the ones with the most knowledge of prevention of transmission of diseases.”
Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD adds that although the internet may be filled with unreliable information, we should also be utilizing it’s trusted resources, too. “Visit the National Institutes of Health, the FDA, American Medical Association, MedlinePlus, professional specialty organizations like dermatology’s AAD, and hospital websites like Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. They are not only accurate and up to date, but they are also invaluable curators of state-of-the-art medical data and information. Don’t be fooled. Be a smart consumer of medical care, because scam treatments at best may do no harm, but at worst may be detrimental to your health and well-being.”
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