When we go to see a doctor, we can be assured that he is qualified to treat illnesses, prescribe medicines and diagnose illnesses. They have completed at least a decade of education after high school and have undergone rigorous training and testing to ensure they know what they are doing.
When we go online, however, anyone with a keyboard and an opinion can feel free to spout out whatever medical misinformation they want, so we should take anything we read online with a grain of salt. Fortunately, there is a page dedicated to exposing irresponsible and inaccurate medical advice shared online: Bad medical grips Twitter account.
We’ve rounded up some of the most ridiculous, hilarious and alarming posts Bad Medical Takes has shared below, so you too can enjoy hearing all the goofy ideas the ignoramuses have felt the need to share online. Be sure to upvote the claims you want to post satirically, then let us know in the comments what was the worst medical advice you’ve ever received. And then if you are interested in another bored panda article featuring medical takes that are definitely not doctor approved, you can find our latest story on the same Twitter account here.
The Bad medical grips Twitter account originally launched in March 2020, which I can only assume came in response to all the misinformation that quickly spread about the COVID-19 virus. When the pandemic started, everyone on the internet suddenly turned into a medical professional, and with billions of desperate people around the world searching for hope and answers, false claims spread like wildfire. powder trail.
But I can’t put all the blame on the bad medical advice rampant online about the pandemic. The internet was saturated with fake news long before 2020, so it only made sense that medical advice would end up in the same category. But the difference between reading fake news about a politician and being told to inject bleach into your veins is that the latter is extremely dangerous. So false medical claims deserve to be exposed and shut down even more than your ordinary fake news.
You might be wondering how anyone in the world could believe the claims shared on this list in the first place, and I’ll be honest, I wonder too. So, to try to get some insight on the subject, I checked out an article from Medical News Today exploring how much of these false claims are seen as credible information. And it turns out that certain factors can make a person more or less likely to believe medical misinformation.
A 2021 study found that people with lower levels of education and people who have less knowledge about health conditions are more likely to believe inaccurate medical claims. Additionally, people who lack confidence in the healthcare system are more likely to view alternative treatments positively and more likely to believe false medical claims. The study also found that participants who believed a false medical claim were likely to fall even more in love, so maybe they’re just more gullible than the average person.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Laura D. Scherer of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, highlighted the value of the study’s findings. “Inaccurate information is a barrier to good health care because it can discourage people from taking preventative measures to avoid illness and make them hesitant to seek treatment when they get sick,” she explained. “Identifying who is most susceptible to misinformation could provide tremendous insight into how this information spreads and provide us with new avenues for intervention.”
One of the most notable factors contributing to the spread of medical misinformation online is distrust of the healthcare system, and this could worsen over time. A survey reported that between 2017 and 2018, there was a 20% drop in the American public’s confidence in its healthcare system. And globally, there has been a 4% decline in citizens’ trust in their healthcare systems. When people don’t trust professionals, they start looking for unverified outside information, which is likely informed by their own opinions and biases.
“We have seen a disturbing shift over the past few decades where policy decisions seem to be driven by ideology and politics rather than facts and evidence,” said American Medical Association President Dr. Patrice A. Harris, during a national address. “The result is a growing mistrust of American institutions – in science – and in the advice of leading experts who dedicate their lives to the search for evidence and reason.”
Another factor that could exacerbate the problem of online medical misrepresentation is social media platforms’ appetite for fake news. While social media can be a great tool for sharing news and raising awareness of social issues, it can also be extremely difficult to verify what is being spread, and the more outlandish a claim, the faster it will get out. In fact, a 2021 study from the NYU School of Global Health found that people who used social media primarily or exclusively to follow pandemic-related news were less likely to practice safer public health practices. most recent. And another GoodRx study found that exposure to false medical claims online can have a negative effect on a patient’s health literacy.
The inaccurate medical information circulating online is not just about COVID-19 and the vaccines used to prevent it. Users can find misinformation about everything from smoking and drug use to claims about other vaccines, like the HPV vaccine, causing various health issues. Fortunately, many users don’t actually trust the claims they see, as only 6% of people said they trust information about COVID on social media sites in a survey, but how quickly those claims spread remains a concern. In fact, medical misinformation sometimes reaches 87% of user feeds on social media sites. Even if only 5% of these people believe these claims, it could have devastating consequences.
So what are public health agencies supposed to do to limit the spread of false claims online? Is it their responsibility to monitor social networks? Well, that’s a tricky question. “Social media can also be volatile: false information, sometimes created maliciously, spreads quickly,” said the Frontiers in public health authors wrote. “Thus, measures to counter misinformation and disinformation on social media in an emergency are needed. Since government censorship can deeply aggravate already existing distrust, measures other than removing content are necessary, as the public shares and reacts positively to factual information, especially if it is published by public health agencies.
In 2021, the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory on medical misinformation, calling on real medical professionals to use their own social media platforms to weed out false claims and spread the truth by line. He also called for health agencies to partner with trusted members of the community, such as church leaders and clinicians, to ensure the public hears accurate information from people in whom they trust. He also noted that this problem cannot be solved overnight. Tackling medical misinformation online will be a long-term effort, so hopefully over time public health literacy will increase. And online misrepresentation will be a thing of the past.
If you’re not in the medical field, I hope you appreciate these ridiculous claims, and if you’re a medical professional, I just want to apologize on behalf of the general public. I promise we don’t all think that way. Keep voting for the posts you find the most hilarious and facepalm-worthy, then let us know in the comments what was the worst medical take you’ve ever heard. And if you feel like laughing at even more gruesome medical advice, be sure to check out our latest article on the same topic here.