Health Tips: COVID-19 update: How to stay out of the hospital


Baghdad, Iraq, was home to the first-known general hospital in 805 A.D. By the 900s, the city had five more. Some were open to all, whether male or female, civilian or military, child or adult, rich or poor, Muslim or non-Muslim. Today in the U.S., there are 6,093 hospitals with 920,531 beds. And while the care can be exceptional, it’s still better to make choices that keep you out of them.

When it comes to avoiding hospitalization for COVID-19 -- always a good thing -- there’s interesting news about what works and what doesn’t. 

-- Ivermectin -- the sometimes-touted but much-discounted medication originally intended to treat parasitic infections -- DOES NOT reduce your risk of hospitalization from COVID-19, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. When researchers looked at 1,300 folks with COVID-19 who were given Ivermectin and others given a placebo, they found that 14.7% of patients in the Ivermectin group and 16.3% of patients in the placebo group either required hospitalization or visited an ER within 28 days due to worsening COVID-19 symptoms. Not a significant distinction. Overall, 81% of both groups checked into a hospital.

-- Better news: Another study in the same journal shows that in a largely unvaccinated population, high-titer convalescent plasma given early after infection with COVID-19 reduces hospitalizations. According to researchers, “hospitalization occurred in 2.9% of patients who received convalescent plasma and in 6.3% of those who received control infusions.”

-- FYI: There’s now a one-stop shopping site for info on vaccines, tests, treatments and masks at

To tell the tele-truth

On “To Tell the Truth,” Kitty Carlisle asked a contestant “What is Lawrence of Arabia’s real name?” He replied (without missing a beat), “Peter O’Toole.” Close -- but not close enough to be right.

Whether skirting the truth is inadvertent or intentional, it’s a losing proposition. Nothing demonstrates that more clearly than the challenges that 28 million Medicare recipients who tuned in with their docs on the computer or phone (66% were audio-only) faced during the first year of the pandemic.

Adjusting to a new way of communicating health concerns and of understanding medical advice simply compounds the trouble many folks have communicating with their doctors. One survey in JAMA Network Open found that 60% to 80% of patients admit shaving the truth when talking with their doc face-to-face. And it’s estimated that, even in person, 90% of you don’t fully understand or remember what to do after your doctor appointment. Just imagine what it’s like when it’s virtual!

Televisits can be convenient, help fill in missed appointments and get you fast answers to urgent questions. You just need to speak up, loud and clear! Have a list of written questions to go over (consider emailing it to the doc before the appointment); record the appointment (Zoom and smart phones make that easy), ask a family member to sit in with you, and take advantage of your doc’s online medical chart app (My Chart) that posts your appointment information. Also, check out the video “Speak Up: About Your Care” at

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email (c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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