Danger from dodgy health advice posts


There’s an email flying around at the moment claiming to contain advice from a Sydney hospital to its staff.

It bears a lot of similarities to another (literally and figuratively) viral post that has been exposed on the BBC’s Coronavirus Newscast podcast as being dangerously bogus and misleading.

The original post, now dressed up as an email to hospital workers, purported to come from an uncle in China and contains dubious advice such as, you can kill coronavirus by sunbathing or by drinking hot liquids and that if you have the symptoms of a common cold, like a runny nose, then you don’t have coronavirus.


As the BBC’s Disinformation Reporter – yes, that’s an actual job – says, the information in these emails and posts on Twitter, Facebook and all the other social media platforms, contains dubious information mixed with enough real advice to make it seem credible.

The BBC reporter credits the spread of this bogus advice to the best of motives – people wanting to help each other – exacerbated by copying and pasting the content so that it appears to come from someone the recipient trusts.

The advice from the BBC’s ‘data detective’ is that it’s better not to pass on any information at all than send out dubious information that could, ultimately, kill someone.

And it contains three “golden rules” to help you spot bogus information. On that very note, please don’t take my word for it. Listen to this excerpt from the BBC podcast and then go to the Australian Government’s Health advisory webpage.

And a couple of days after we first posted this, this story appeared in the SMH.

Oh, and if you have passed on anything like the dubious information mentioned above or in the podcast, take a moment to go back to your favourite social media platform and remove it then maybe even direct your contacts to a more reliable source of information.


Stay well, apart!

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