Evaluation of the First and Emergency Aid Students' Approaches to the Use of Immune Boosters Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Bacanak M. , Yazar Ürek S.

7th International Critical Care and Emergency Medicine Congress, İstanbul, Türkiye, 12 - 15 Kasım 2020, ss.368

  • Yayın Türü: Bildiri / Tam Metin Bildiri
  • Basıldığı Şehir: İstanbul
  • Basıldığı Ülke: Türkiye
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.368


Evaluation of the First and Emergency Aid Students' Approaches to the Use of Immune Boosters Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Merve Saygı Bacanak1, Selma Yazar2

1Department of First and Emergency Aid, Vocational School of Health-Related Professions, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey

2Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Toxicology, Istanbul Yeni Yuzyil University, Istanbul, Turkey

Background and Objective: COVID-19 pandemic which is the biggest health problem of 2020 is likely to cause serious consequences including death in people with weak immune system. So one of the most important factor is the immunity other than the viral load in this pandemic. Immune boosters like herbals, vitamins, minerals, food supplements and functional foods contribute to the immunity and offer beneficial effects when used      appropriately. There is a belief that these products are natural and harmless and their use is getting very popular around the world. But incorrect use of the mentioned products can modify the homeostasis and lead life threatening reactions. So the immune boosters should be used rationally. The emergency healthcare professionals are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study evaluating the approaches of the First and Emergency Aid Students regarding the use of immune boosters against COVID-19 pandemic.

Materials and Methods: A cross‑sectional questionnaire‑based survey was conducted from June 2020 to October 2020. Ninety five First and Emergency Aid Students in Turkey are voluntarily participated in this study. 

Results: Two of 95 were COVID-19 positive. 42.11% applied immune boosters during the pandemic. 67.5% of them used more than one product or method at the same time. Majority (40.54%) applied the mentioned immune boosters few times a week. Concomitant medication use was 10%. Most of the participants (62.5%) preferred the herbals or natural traditional methods. Zingiber officinale was the most popular herbal. The second commonly used product was Vitamin C (42.5%). The source of the information for the used immune boosters were physicians (45%), internet/social media (45%), friends or relatives (20%), pharmacies (12.5%), TV programs (12.5%) and advertisements (2.5%). 

Conclusion: This study highlights that First and Emergency Aid Students needed to apply immune boosters in the pandemic. More than one immune booster was commonly used at the same time. These participants may be unaware of a risk of cytokine storm which is a consequence of overactive innate immunity. Pro-inflammatory cytokines or other innate immune mechanisms may be over-stimulated via concomitant or over dose administration of different immune booster products. Hyperactive immunity can lead autoimmune reactions including allergies. So pro-inflammatory and immunostimulatory factors including immune boosters should be considered carefully.