Sunday 22 September, 2019

Trevor Sayers stands by bug spray remedy for red eye

Herbalist Trevor Sayers says he is standing by his advice to use "bug spray" as a remedy for red eye.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed a red eye outbreak in this country, and said it has received reports of an increased number of persons visiting public healthcare facilities due to the condition, also called conjunctivitis.

In a video posted on Facebook, Sayers advised that various brands of insecticide spray could be applied to the eyes as treatment for the condition.

The Ministry, in a release on Friday, strongly warned against this.

"The Ministry of Health has noted that certain individuals have circulated reports on social media indicating that conjunctivitis (‘red eye’) can be treated with aerosolised insecticides," it said.

"The Ministry of Health advises that there is no scientific merit to this claim. As such, these products should be used according to the directions of the manufacturer."

The Ministry warned that inappropriate use of pesticides can cause serious injury, harm or even death.

Despite this, Sayers told LoopTT he stood by the comments made in his video and that no one has ever died from using bug spray.

"People spray their whole house with it. They spray their kitchen with food and everything. There is nothing wrong with that."

In his video, Sayers said bug spray could also be used on different parts of the body for body odor and other problems.

The video has amassed more than 87,000 views, 1,800 shares and hundreds of comments.

However many of those commenting have criticized Sayers for encouraging practices that could have harmful effects on persons who take his advice seriously.

Some called on the Ministry of Health to investigate and penalize Sayers for his statements.

It is not the first time the controversial herbalist has provoked public criticism.

In 2014, amidst the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Sayers claimed to have found a cure for the deadly virus which had killed thousands of people.

His claim prompted calls from the then Minister of Dr Health Fuad Khan for stricter penalties for false health advertising.

Sayers said people have wanted to "lock him up" for making the claim.

The 59-year-old has, in the past, been reported to the Consumer Affairs Division and the Director of Public Prosecutions for making claims of having found a cure for cancer.

He recently advised women to use newspaper in place of sanitary napkins, which he said was dangerous.

Questioned on these past incidents, Sayers said his remedies and cures are unconventional but backed by history.

"It never had sanitary napkins long time. It was newspapers and cloth," he said.

"That is what people used to use. It never had all the things that you accustomed to. Newspaper is very healthy."

Asked if he had any fears that people might take his advice and end up seriously hurting themselves, Sayers said no.

"What I giving is good information. That is why people cannot get better. They don't take good information."

Sayers operates "Naturalised Herbs", a chain of herbal stores with branches across the country offering remedies for a myriad of ailments ranging from erectile dysfunction to the common cold.

He was once a candidate in local government elections, contesting the St Ann's River North seat in 2010 under a Congress of the People (COP) ticket.

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