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Florida Poison Control reports spike in people taking livestock dewormer

The drug ivermectin does not treat COVID-19 but could put your health at risk.

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida's Poison Control Centers are joining a growing list of agencies warning the public to not take a deworming medication meant for livestock to treat COVID-19 because it doesn't work.

So far, Florida Poison Control says it has treated 27 people through Aug. 24. Most of which were cases involving the use of ivermectin which is made for livestock.

"Ivermectin has not been authorized or approved by @US_FDA for treatment or prevention of COVID-19.  #ToxTuesday," the tweet continued.

Since January of this year, the Florida Poison Information Center says it has seen 65 exposures to ivermectin. The reported age range for exposure varied from 19 months to 78 years old.

RELATED: No, Ivermectin will not cure or prevent COVID-19

Ivermectin is a commonly used medicine, and it is even used in humans. However, it is not an anti-viral drug. 

"They use it for river blindness, which is a huge problem in a lot of parts of the developing world. They use it for roundworm, pen worm, it can be used for lice," Dr. Fred Aleguas said. He's the managing director for the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa. 

Since it is not meant to treat viruses, it will not do anything to cure or prevent a virus like COVID-19. However, the ivermectin you can buy online or at the store is not the same as the form that would be prescribed for a human in a doctor's office. The details are in the dose. 

RELATED: FDA warns people should stop using animal worm medication to treat COVID

"The ivermectin you can get over the counter, like at Tractor Supply, it comes preloaded in a syringe dose for a 1,250-pound animal. It's a much larger animal, and much more concentrated than what a human would take," said Dr. Emily Weaver. 

She is a veterinarian with Land O' Lakes Equine and specifically works with horses. Weaver uses ivermectin on a regular basis for treating horses with parasites. 

"Animal products are designed for animals, so the dosing is specific for an animal. It would be very easy to overdose a human on animal products," she explained.

Not only will ivermectin do nothing for COVID, but you are also putting your health at risk by potentially taking a dose meant for an animal. Ivermectin is an FDA-approved drug, but that approval is only for its use in treating certain parasites.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, head to this link.

RELATED: 'That's selling like gangbusters': People buying drug for livestock to treat COVID, tripling sales at Jacksonville feed store

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