Social media and the press are providing a mind-numbing amount of text. Notice I did not say information.Social media is taking partial facts and adding text that is not evidence-based, an may even be dangerously inaccurate. Here’s why that’s such a danger when it come to our health.
The Path to Nowhere
When we are isolated, social media, televised news and emails become our link to life as we know it. It is also where our very capable brains need to override our initial reaction to a message or post. These mediums, like fortune tellers of old, bring confusion and fear which breeds anger. Humans, when confronted with a tragic situation, like war, a deadly earthquake, or raging fires, initially react, as our brains process the warnings signs. We may even experience a moment of denial as our brains take a moment to think and process, preventing us from racing towards danger instead of away from it.
Misinformation, when we read a misleading post or listen to televised news with partial truths, can send the same singles to the brain. In a Pandemic this is lethal.
A recent article in the WSJ describes the scope of the problem with COVID 19 as an “Infodemic.” It’s staggering just how much confusion our information resources are sowing. For example, in an effort to give hope, the President mentioned the old malaria drug, chloroquine showed promise. This partial information caused a man to lethally self-dose himself and for doctors and patients to hoard the drug.
Two Critical Steps for All of Us
1. Social Distancing
If you need a reminder that the virus moves quickly, take a look at this video. This virus needs your body and human cells to live and reproduce. Staying away from others is the best way to prevent human-to-human spread.
2. Be patient and respectful to healthcare professionals
They are at the greatest risk!
Without the protective masks, gloves, face shields, and gowns healthcare providers themselves are at risk to spread the virus or to become infected themselves, yet these clinical teams remain committed to thinking, acting and caring for people to the best of their ability.
To learn more about which resources you can trust for accurate, factual information, visit our Resources page and use our four-question test to assess the validity of text you read or hear.