We all know the flu season is in full swing and is arguably one of the worst. According to the Center for Disease Control, influenza activity has been increasing. The A(H3) strain is the most frequently identified.
Take a look at this map (also courtesy of the CDC): Unless you live in Maine, Delaware, Alaska, Montana, Utah, or North Dakota, we’re in the trenches, y’all. Something that has been ticking me off this flu season (and all others, to be frank), is that false information regarding the influenza vaccine is taking social media by storm.
I’m totally about people doing their own research using credible sources and making informed decisions when it comes to the influenza vaccine (it’s not hard to do either, btw). But SERIOUSLY. People are taking what they see on Facebook– a breeding ground for “fake news”– at face value. Health is being endangered and lives are being lost because of this false information.
Let me say it one more time for the people in the back:
HEALTH IS BEING ENDANGERED AND LIVES ARE BEING LOST BECAUSE OF THIS FALSE INFORMATION.
Here’s an example of one of the sources of false info:
When I saw this show up on my news feed, the first red flag that I saw, besides the “Comic Sans” font, was “ethylene blycol.” I check ingredients for every personal care product I buy, so I’m familiar with common ingredients… like ethylene GLYCOL. I decided to put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and look up each of these ingredients to get more information.
– “Ethylene blycol” doesn’t exist, but ethylene glycol does. While ethylene glycol is indeed a component of antifreeze, it’s actually not in the flu vaccine.
– Thimerosal DOES contain ethylmercury, but is generally harmless to the human body as it gets cleared from the system pretty quickly. Methylmercury is the one that we need to worry about.
– Formaldehyde can be used as a preservative, but it’s also naturally occuring in our bodies and the fruits and vegetables we put in our bodies.
– Aluminum: It seems that there isn’t a clear consensus. It depends which source you look into. Here are two credible sources: NCBI and FDA
– And, Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Hugh Fudenburg: Well, a simple Google search will tell you all the info you need.
You get the picture.
I’m not a medical professional, but I am the daughter of one, as well as a very informed consumer. Use your ever-lovin’ common sense, people. If you choose not to get the flu vaccine, that is your own decision, and one that absolutely should not be solely dependent on what you see on social media, but rather a result of your own meticulous research and conversations with your doctor. If you don’t get vaccinated (or even if you do) and get the flu, stay home to prevent the spread of the illness. Sharing false information on social has a detrimental effect far beyond your understanding.
Knowledge IS power, but your knowledge is only as good as where you get it from. The place where your crazy family member shares chain messages that say “people are hacking your account, send this to 5 people to protect your account!” is probably not going to be the best place to get crucial info about your health unless it comes from a reputable health organization staffed by people with actual degrees in medicine.
Stay happy, stay healthy.