The exam checklist for students now seems to have a new item sharing space with hall ticket, pens and ID card — paracetamol. With thermo guns now standing guard at every exam centre, popping a paracetamol pill before leaving home is the ‘new normal’.
A JEE candidate told that many of his friends took the pill as a safety measure even though they did not have fever. “An institute batchmate read this online, and mentioned this in our private WhatsApp group. We could get a slight temperature on exam day due to tension as well, so why take a chance. There is no harm in taking a paracetamol if you are not Covid-19 positive. It’s not cheating, just being safe,” said the candidate.
He added that the original online message was about people taking a paracetamol before boarding aeroplanes. This used to be a common practice by those returning from abroad and wanting to take no chances with body temperature checks. It’s no surprise that the same technique has found its way now to examinations, because students do not want to jeopardize their chances in any way. Also, this aspect is coming out only now because full-fledged exams resumed from September first week.
Though both JEE and NEET have provisions for allowing students with fever (not Covid-19 positive) to appear for the exam in isolated room, students were not ready to take chances.
Another student said, “In my college WhatsApp group, people said Dolo 650 is the best tablet. However, all these messages were sent with lot of emoticons, like jokes. But though everyone was making fun of the idea, I know quite a few of my friends who took paracetamol before their entrance test. It’s the best way to avoid the ruckus. But I hope that Covid-19 positive students did not misuse this and put all of us at risk.” In that same WhatsApp group, a message was sent about the timing. “It said the tablet must ideally taken one hour before entering the exam centre,” the student added.
Sameer Phale, a senior academic who specializes in NEET preparation, said such students are risking their health. “Suppressing fever for gaining entry into exam centre is wrong,” said Phale.
Interventional cardiologist Dr Prashant Jagtap said taking medication without medical supervision is dangerous. “The drug reduces fever through sweating, but if one does not have body temperature then why would you even take it. I believe it’s a very bad idea to pop that pill just because of the thermo gun,” said Dr Jagtap.
(With inputs from TimesOfIndia)