Online Health Advice


Dixya Poudel

Is coffee beneficial for health? If so, should you drink coffee on an empty stomach or after a meal? Likewise, when is the best time to exercise and what sort of exercise is the most advantageous? What about diet and nutrition? 

These are some of the questions that people have been searching in Google since its creation. In fact, Google is one of the most consulted online health repertoires as users search for symptoms, remedies and cure. In fact, people tend to Google cure for their ailments before seeking medical treatment. 

However, today Google faces a fierce competition from social media. As such, social media like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have become a site to resolve health queries for those with health concerns. 

It is said that health is wealth. Yet, most often people don’t worry about their wellbeing until they are afflicted by an illness, whether physical or mental. Particularly, people tend to shroud their mental health problems in silence due to the stigma and taboo surrounding them. 

Thankfully, due to the rise of mental health advocacy in social media, people are opening up. Physical or psychological, health issues have to be tackled early on. 

Indeed, prevention is better than cure which is where social media has become a convenience. Many doctors and health experts run their own social media accounts to dispense health advice. And they are for free. One only requires a Wi-Fi and a smartphone. 

Thanks to these health experts, laymen can understand health terms, illnesses and the right course of treatment. 

Such posts are widely circulated in the online media, guarding people from the risks of health adversity. 

And yet, due to the sheer number of health contents available online, there can be confusion as to whose advice is right. Likewise, there can be a spread of misinformation, especially from unauthorised content creators. While it might be beneficial to accept the advices from a medical doctor or a health professional, oftentimes, people tend to believe proliferating content creators instead. 

Tune to social media and you will see quite a number of advices freely given out by influencers and content creators who have a substantial following. There are those who will say exercise isn’t any good when it comes to weight loss. Then others will stress that exercise is in fact the best way to lose weight. 

There seems to be thus quite a disagreement when it comes to weight loss. Ditto when it comes to diet, nutrition and sleep. Misinformation can lead to the wrong advice and suggestions resulting in negative consequences. What could then be the best course of action when it comes to asking for and receiving health advice online?

First of all, one should take medical and health advice with a grain of salt when it comes from non-professionals. No matter how much appealing their content is, don’t blindly trust non-professional influencers and content creators. 

They may have the best interest at heart but could still be erroneous. In conclusion, while it is necessary to be cognizant of one’s health, exercise caution when it comes to health advice that is pervasive online.   

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