Every day, there are literally hundreds of hours of coverage about COVID-19. Between the cable news networks and the internet, it’s enough to create information overload in even the most tech savvy individual. In addition to the sheer volume of information and the ongoing questions about the validity, reliability and credibility of the sources of the information is the fact that a lot of the information appears to be changing day to day, sometimes even hour to hour. Should I wear a mask when I go outside or is it okay to go outside without a mask? And if I do wear a mask, what type of mask is best for me to use and where can I get one? And if I can’t find a mask, can I make my own and what materials should I use? Should I wash my hands with soap and water? Or should I only use hand sanitizer?
And if I use hand sanitizer, but can’t find any in the store, can I make my own? And what sort of ingredients are best for me to use? Should I only get tested if I develop symptoms or, if the test is available in my community, should I get tested to know my status? And then if I get a test result, how reliable and valid are those test results? Well, the good news is, is that the ever-changing information means that we’re learning more and more about this virus each and every day. The challenge is that because we’re learning more about the virus every day, the guidance and the recommendations for healthcare providers and the general public is constantly changing. Scientific discovery is a moving target because the flow of information and knowledge is always evolving, which is why it’s important for us to be able to strike a healthy balance between remaining informed and being emotionally overloaded with facts and figures. Knowledge is not necessarily power, but credible, reliable and accurate knowledge is power, which is why it’s imperative for us to seek information from reliable sources. So while we prepare for the worst and hope for the best, let us all be vigilant in getting information that is reliable and current so that we can all do our part, health providers, community workers, family members, and friends, to keep ourselves healthy and safe during this challenging time.
Information about COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) is literally coming at us at light speed and it can sometimes feel like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hose. Even people with the best of intentions can sometimes provide information that’s not only inaccurate but it could actually be dangerous. Be leery of the blogger with a degree from Medscape University or the podcast from someone who trained at WebMD College of Virtual Medicine because there are enough reputable and credible, reliable, and trusted sources of information out there that you can sift through in order to get the information that you need to keep you and those who matter to you healthy and safe.
The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have perhaps the most accurate and up to date information about all things Coronavirus. You might also seek community specific information from your local or state public health officials who will almost undoubtedly be referencing the CDC or the WHO. Remember, knowledge is not key, but only accurate knowledge is key. Get the facts from a reliable source, follow those instructions and increase your chances of staying safe in and through the COVID-19 pandemic.