Fact Check: Viral video advising to apply catechu and salt to treat dog bite is unproven

Never rely on home remedies, rush to the doctor

By Sunanda Naik  Published on  28 Sep 2023 9:50 AM GMT
Fact Check: Viral video advising to apply catechu and salt to treat dog bite is unproven

Hyderabad: Artificial Intelligence has become a great trend where AI-generated videos showing dummy doctors advising illogical and scientifically unproven cure for serious health ailments is also at peak.

(Source: Screengrab from viral post)

We can’t ignore the fact that when it comes to health misinformation, these videos could be highly misleading. People who are not aware of AI might fall for the incorrect information shared through these videos.

In this article, we will discuss one such highly misleading claim which might cost a life. The viral video claims that you can treat a dog bite by applying salt and catechu or Kattha over it. As per the viral video, this magical mix would suck out the poison. (Note: Dogs are not venomous, they are talking about rabies-causing virus)

Scroll down to know what to do instead.

Fact Check

NewsMeter found no scientific evidence backing the claim. Hence we mark the claim false.

What is Rabies?

The World Health Organisation says that rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is virtually 100% fatal. In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans. Yet, rabies can affect both domestic and wild animals. It spreads to people and animals via saliva, usually through bites, scratches or direct contact with mucosa (e.g. eyes, mouth or open wounds). Children between the age group of 5 and 14 years are frequent victims.

What are the symptoms of Rabies?

Initial symptoms of rabies include generic signs like fever, pain and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensations at the wound site. As the virus moves to the central nervous system, progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord develops. Clinical rabies in people can be managed but very rarely cured, and not without severe neurological deficits, says WHO.

Forms of Rabies

Furious Rabies in hyperactivity: This type of Rabies might cause excitable behavior, hallucination, lack of coordination, hydrophobia or fear of water, and aerophobia or fear of fresh air. Death is inevitable in this case due to cardiorespiratory arrest.

The second form is paralytic Rabies which accounts for about 20% of the total cases. In this form, rabies runs a least dramatic and unusually longer course than the furious form. The muscles gradually become paralyzed starting from the wound. Slowly spreads to the entire body and the person succumbs to death.

What to do when a dog bites?

Seek immediate assistance from your doctor and get the anti-rabies vaccination started without wasting any time (if your physician advises). Do not panic, rabies can be prevented through vaccination.

We further reached out to Prof. Dr. S. Vijay Mohan, M.D, Sr. Consultant Physician, Care Hospitals & Professor & HoD, Dept. of Internal Medicine, to debunk the claim.

Calling the remedy unscientific and baseless. Dr. Vijay says, ‘Rabies is a 100 percent killer disease. Never follow these unscientific measures. The only prevention and protection is vaccine’.

Adding to this, Dr. Jaison Philips, a seasoned expert in infectious diseases in Hyderabad, shares insights into this lethal disease and underscores the significance of vaccination.
He said, “Rabies runs its course in just six days, and death is excruciatingly painful. Treatment mainly involves protection from bright light and noise, with intravenous feeding, as oral feeding becomes nearly impossible.”
Post-exposure vaccination is crucial if someone has been bitten by a potentially rabid animal. Dr Philips underscores, “Rabies is 100 percent vaccine-preventable. The vaccine is readily available and provided free of charge at government hospitals in India. It’s imperative to seek medical attention
after a suspected animal bite.”
Rabies vaccines must be stored in a refrigerator between 2-8 degrees Celsius to maintain their effectiveness. Dr Philips highlights, “These vaccines are safe even for pregnant and lactating mothers, providing them and their unborn or breastfeeding children with protection.”
Typically, rabies vaccines are administered on days 0, 7, and 21 of the bite. Following the vaccination, an individual enjoys complete protection for three years. Dr Philips recommends, “After this period, a rabies booster is advisable every ten years, especially for those at risk.”
In conclusion, rabies is a deadly killer with a 100 percent mortality rate once symptoms appear. However, the good news is that rabies is also a 100 percent vaccine-preventable disease. With accessible vaccines and timely care, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from this deadly threat. Dr Philips concludes, “Knowledge, vaccination, and swift action are our allies in the battle against rabies. Prevention is our best defense.”
Claim Review:Apply catechu and salt to treat dog bite
Claimed By:Social media user
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Facebook
Claim Fact Check:False
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