CHARLOTTE – A second hazard has emerged during this unprecedented healthcare crisis – bad advice about avoiding and treating COVID-19 spread on social media.
Physicians at WellcomeMD Charlotte say this development during a global pandemic is concerning.
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“COVID-19 is the number one concern of my patients,” said Dr. Matthew Acampora, a physician at WellcomeMD Charlotte. “I’ve taken numerous calls from patients and occasionally have had to replace seriously mistaken information with facts about the spread of this virus. These falsehoods spread confusion at a time when we need clarity.”
Examples of inaccurate messaging about the virus include a chain email from a “member of the Stanford hospital board” that stated merely sipping water could wash the virus down your throat allowing your stomach acid to kill it and a recipe for homemade hand sanitizer made with vodka and aloe gel that was handed out.
“All of these are full of inaccuracies and have been debunked” Acampora said.
There are several legitimate sources for information on COVID-19, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Frequently Asked Questions page and the World Health Organization’s Myth busters page.
This week Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, faculty editor at Harvard Health Publishing, also warned about conspiracy theories and unfounded claims that are circulating on social media. He pointed to hoaxes that claim the U.S. government had created and patented a vaccine for coronavirus years ago and suggest drinking bleach or snorting cocaine can cure coronavirus infection as misleading posts that could be especially damaging.
“It is vitally important that people rely on the legitimate advice of medical professionals in the face of this pandemic,” Acampora said. “Physicians work hard to maintain the trust of their patients and mine know they can call me anytime with questions about their health or information they find on social media.”
Acampora stressed people concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19 immediately contact their physician or nearest health clinic for guidance, especially if they have symptoms.
“This virus is here, and many are scared,” Acampora said. “Before fear drives you to press ‘share’ after reading a social media post, take a deep breath and check the source. Let’s not make a difficult situation worse.”
Want to learn more?
WellcomeMD Charlotte is located at 8035 Providence Road, suite 315. Call: 980-585-9870 or visit www.wellcomemd.com for details.
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