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El Paso emergency room physician warns public about self-medicating to treat Covid-19

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — As more reports emerge about possible treatments for Covid-19, a local emergency medicine physician is urging the public to heed caution when it comes to self-medicating. Nationwide, medical professionals have warned Americans to avoid using prescription drugs without a prescription.

“'What I would hate for people to start doing is to go buy steroids from Mexico or from anywhere and just start using them without a doctor’s advice,” said Dr. Sarah Watkins, Medical Director of the West Texas Regional Poison Center and assistant professor at TTUHSC El Paso. “Steroids over the short term and especially over the long term, those can be very bad for your body, so definitely want to make sure that's prescribed by a doctor and supervised by a doctor when you take it.”

Dr. Watkins advises using over-the-counter medication, like Tylenol, to treat symptoms, but says it is vital to dose appropriately. If an individual takes more than directed, these medications can also be dangerous.

Prescription or not, Dr. Watkins also urged El Pasoans not to buy more medication than they need.

“Please don't go out and buy too much of something and hoard it because that prevents it from getting to the people who really need it,” she said.

If you’re concerned you might have the virus and you have difficulty breathing, Dr. Watkins recommends going to the emergency room.

“I just want to encourage people to keep talking to their doctor,” she said. “Keep an open dialogue about this stuff, so you don't accidentally have some side effects.”

She added that when it comes to preventing Covid-19, the best tools are social distancing, hand washing and face coverings.

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.



  1. a simple conversation with my Dr. costs $150 since he’s not “in network”. She talks about steroids, is that because she can’t say the ch-word

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