Don’t believe all the health stories on social media

Don't believe all the health stories on social media

In the years prior to the internet, there was a lot of ignorance when it came to knowledge of medical issues. During the 1980s, there was a lot of misinformation and fear when it came to AIDS. There was so much bad information out there about how AIDS and HIV can be contracted, that many people treated it like leprosy. It was only through years of education and public information have we greatly reduced that stigma.

Now in the days of the internet with access to the all of world’s knowledge we should be more enlightened when it comes to outbreaks of certain diseases. The problem is that with social media, the fear and misinformation have an audience equal to the truth.

According to the Huffington Post, at the height of the Zika virus onset, the most stories read and shared on social media about the subject were either conspiracy related or just flat-out wrong. The same thing happened with the Ebola scare a few years back, and the argument over vaccinating your children seems to be eternal.

When the fear and misinformation become more dominant than facts we could find ourselves returning to the days of leeches, blood-letting and releasing our humors. That may be a hyperbolic example but it can happen slowly over time if we’re not careful enough.