7 resources for responsible sharing on social media

In this time of social distancing, the digital world can be a valuable source of connection if used responsibly. Thank you for joining me .

In another post I shared 9 strategies for responsible social media posting and sharing. Here are the online resources that I used and some others for you to check out.

Take A Seat — Chuck Sigars

Mr. Sigars blog post isn’t so much about how but about why it’s important to post responsibly. I include it here because the situation he describes was part of what prompted me to address this problem. He wrote,

we end up living in a world in which casual truth and lies exist in the same moment and we’re too overwhelmed and busy to figure it out. We believe what we want, and disbelieve the rest, and now that I think about it, this is exactly the world we live in. Never mind.

man looking at a phone screen
4 Tips for Spotting a Fake News Story
One tip is-

Pay attention to quality and timeliness.

Social Media Tips – Viswanath Lab

Be the weak link-you may be unknowingly contributing to the spread of false information forwarding anything and everything you receive.

THINK before you post or share.
graphical depiction of electronic devices, paper, pencil, Bible, coffee mug
How to Avoid Falling for Urban Legends, Rumors, and Conspiracy Theories

Why would we believe unfounded and sensational claims and theories about people and events that could be easily explained otherwise?

They help us make sense of and manage threats. Most pieces of misinformation address things we fear (diseases, kidnapping, murder, mysterious creatures, crime, etc.). We often don’t fully understand these threats, so we use misinformation to make sense of them and to cope with our fears.

5 ways to spot disinformation on your social media feeds

Remember that the creators of disinformation purposely make content that is designed to trigger an emotional response,

so if you find yourself having those reactions, please pause and consider the questions listed in the article.
The Simplest Way to Spot Coronavirus Misinformation on Social Media |

The SIFT method described by this digital literacy expert can be used with any information, not just about coronavirus-Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace.

hands keyboarding
Tips & Tools – Media Literacy & Misinformation – LibGuides at Monmouth University

Manmouth University sponsors this website dedicated to Media Literacy . The site offers advice on

  • how to choose a news source
  • how to fact check
  • how to image check
  • how to check your own bias
  • how misinformation spreads
  • how to evaluate sources
  • conspiracy theories

“The problem is not that some people might believe something that’s not true. The problem is that most people might stop caring if anything is true.”

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Director, University of Virginia Center for Media & Citizenship 

Try these tips now while reading-

Microchips in our vaccines?

Use these resources to evaluate this blog post by Dr. Gretchen LaSalle. Whatever you already think about vaccines, microchips, and Bill Gates, identify your own bias, then objectively consider what she says. Fact check her references, think critically, consider all sides, identify your emotional reaction.

And if you choose to share the post, consider using the strategies I suggested in my previous post.

Use these 9 strategies to share responsibly on social media

People use fear to motivate and manipulate. Using phrases like “they don’t want you to see this”, “share before they remove it ”, and words like racist, fascist, communist, conspiracy, censored, socialist, control, right, left, etc. imply an urgency that usually isn’t realistic or rational. Sharing verifiable information allows your friends to draw their own conclusions based on fact not fear.

But if we have learned anything in the Internet Era, it is this… We can’t always believe what we read. Even legitimate news outlets get it wrong sometimes and people have agendas which can color how they report “the news”. Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, it’s time consuming. But we HAVE to do the work of researching these claims to make sure we are not part of the problem in spreading falsehoods and misinformation.

Gretchen LaSalle, M.D.

exploring the HEART of health on social media

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

I appreciate your commitment for making social media a safer, more valuable, and healthier place to connect and share what we know and what we feel. In this time of social distancing, the digital world can be a valuable source of connection if used responsibly. Thank you for joining me .

                              Dr. Aletha 

6 things you need to know to get through the flu season-update

When I first published this post, I didn’t know these same basic recommendations would also be helpful to fight a new and possibly deadlier infectious disease-COVID-19, caused by a different respiratory virus, the Coronavirus, which has spread all over the world beginning in December 2019 and now into the spring of 2020.

Influenza vs Coronavirus

When I first published this post, I didn’t know these same basic recommendations would also be helpful to fight a new and possibly deadlier infectious disease-COVID-19, caused by a different respiratory virus, the Coronavirus, which has spread all over the world beginning in December 2019 and now into the spring of 2020.

At this time, most of these points also seem to apply to COVID-19, except unfortunately, number 3; there is no vaccine and probably won’t be for many more months.

1. If you think you have the “flu”, you probably don’t.

To many people “the flu” is any respiratory illness characterized by  fever, cough, congestion, fatigue and aches. That term has become so nonspecific even we doctors use it that way. But flu should refer  to influenza,  one of many viruses that cause respiratory illness.

The other viral respiratory illnesses  are

  • rhinosinusitis, aka “colds”, upper respiratory infections-URIs,
  • bronchitis,
  • pharyngitis,
  • pneumonia.
The human respiratory system
The respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, trachea, bronchi in blue and the lungs (pink). Infections can involve the breathing organs from the nose all the way down to the lungs. (photo complimentary from Pixabay

2. If your doctor thinks you have “the flu”, you probably do.

Prior to the  “rapid flu” test, we doctors diagnosed influenza by the characteristic symptoms,  exam, and knowing there was an outbreak in the community. The test is helpful for confirmation but not 100 % accurate, and likely the Coronvirus test is not either.

3. The best way to prevent influenza is by vaccination.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) ,the National Foundation for Infectious Disease and  other reputable medical organizations recommend vaccination against influenza.

People refuse vaccination because they believe it is ineffective, unnecessary, dangerous, toxic, unnatural, subversive, and who knows what else.  I don’t think I or anyone else are going to change their minds.

My family and I always get vaccinations which have successfully protected us without side effects or adverse reactions. There are risks, just like there are with any medical procedure, or lots of other things we do in life. In this case we have decided the benefit outweighs the risk.

If you don’t want a “flu shot”, just say no. Your doctor doesn’t need or want to hear a speech; we’ve already heard them all.

4. Stay away from others if you are sick.

It’s not a coincidence that influenza outbreaks coincide with the American holiday season (approximately November through January). So to protect us all,

  • Stay home if you are sick, and ask your family, co-workers and employees to do the same.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; use your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently, thoroughly, and long enough.
  • Wash frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant.
Hand hygiene saves lives.
a common sight now in public restrooms

5. If you do get sick, don’t ask your doctor for an antibiotic. It will not help. 

Antibiotics attack bacteria. Influenza and 99% of all respiratory illnesses are due to viruses.

There are antiviral drugs that will “shorten the duration and severity of symptoms” by 1-2 days, if started early. The effectiveness is uncertain for an illness that will resolve within 10-14 days regardless. But if it gets you back to school or work a day earlier, it may be worth the cost-they are not cheap drugs.

Otherwise, the treatment is“symptomatic” or “supportive” care:

  • Rest; eat and drink as normally as possible; extra fluids if running a fever 
  • Non-prescription cough/congestion /pain/fever meds

Acetaminophen for aches and fever

Lozenges for sore throat, cough, and congestion

Breathing moist air with the use of a humidifier  helps with cough and congestion

(the previous are affiliate links. )

6. You can die from influenza, but you probably won’t.

People die from complications of influenza, and infants, young children and the elderly have greatest risk.The most common fatal complication is bacterial pneumonia, infection in the lung. Influenza can also attack the nervous system causing brain inflammation (encephalitis and/or meningitis) and paralysis in the form of Guillain Barre syndrome .

an xray of healthy lungs with no signs of pneumonia.
Healthy lungs with no signs of pneumonia.

Persons with chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung disorders, depressed immune systems and cancer are at greater risk of complications and should always consult a physician if feeling ill. If you are not sure if you fall into that category, ask your doctor.

what you really need to know

We should all take influenza and COVID-19 seriously; consider my suggestions, talk to your personal doctor, keep up with recommendations from your local public health professionals, and do your part to keep your family and community well.

Here are some previous posts about infections .

Get Smart About Antibiotics

“Most common infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections, are caused by viruses and do not respond to antibiotic treatment. “

6 smart facts about antibiotics

“You may think of antibiotics as safe, harmless drugs with no potential for serious effects.  Usually antibiotics are well tolerated and safe. But serious side effects are possible, though infrequent.”

Sorting out sinusitis

“If you have a bacterial sinus infection with more than mild symptoms, an antibiotic may relieve symptoms and help you recover sooner. “

exploring the HEART of health

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              Dr. Aletha 

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