Whenever there is a public health crisis, crowds have a tendency to overreact. This is an understandable reaction thanks to our very biology. Human beings are part of a ‘herd’ mentality. We rely on social behavior as part of our own survival. So when a group of people simultaneously get bad news, we tend to run high on the emotions of the people within a close proximity to one another. It also doesn’t help that our own ideas and beliefs tend to be solidified by an “echo chamber”. In spite the validity of the information.
So, it is very easy to buy into things that aren’t in our own best interests or spread false information. In other words, panic is how fake news, snake oil, and cults of personality happen. And the news about the Coronavirus is causing major panic. A panic that is causing people to react in ways that are counterproductive.
In lieu of the usual nutrition news we are going to cover the dos, and don’ts of managing your health during this time of pandemic.
Don’t Listen to Politicians and Celebrities and Do Listen to Doctors and Scientists
Everybody has at least one personal hero. That is because, just like I mentioned in the beginning, we are social creatures. So, we can’t help but admire some people. You may like a supermodel because of how gorgeous they are. Or you may like an athlete for how well they perform physical feats. And it is worth admiration because they put in the hours and dedication into their profession.
So why don’t we give that same benefit of the doubt to doctors and scientists, when they give you medical advice?
Just because you admire someone that does not mean that they’re knowledgeable about every subject matter. Especially when it comes to something that is important as your health.
They might have the occasional nuggets of wisdom here and there. However, if you expect their information to rival that of over 12 years of medical school, consistently tested evidence, and direct observation, then you are sorely mistaken.
As tempted as you are to think that the latest supplement in a supermarket might be enough to ward away the coronavirus or the flu, you are better off listening to the professionals about this.
Some of the highly recommended places to learn about the latest in an outbreak is the World Health Organization. Also, if you want to find a reliable resource on any subject matter pertaining to health as a rule of thumb periodicals, like peer reviewed journals from people who have dedicated their lives to that sort of research is also a good place to go.
Don’t Stock up on Medical Masks or Hand Sanitizer and Do Keep Soap on Hand
“Panic buying, according to Wikipedia, “is the act of buying unusually large amounts of a product in anticipation of, or after, a disaster or perceived disaster, or in anticipation of a large price increase or shortage.”
This phenomenon is not a new one. The act of hoarding supplies in an attempt to head off disaster is a survival mechanism. I recall my family stockpiling canned foods in anticipation for Y2K. Even hibernating animals store supplies for times when food will not be plenty. However, there is a difference between having a small back up and descending on supplies en masse like zombies in a movie.
Recently, a swath of panic buying is occuring for things like medical masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves. At first, it seems inconsequential. After all, isn’t it good to have these things just in case? Not necessarily. For starters, using these supplies too much , or in the wrong way make them ineffective. Too much hand sanitizer can make your skin crack, adding more potential entry points for viruses to get in. Also, medical masks cannot protect you from the coronavirus. It protects other people from getting a disease that you are carrying.
It also leads to more dangerous consequences for doctors, healthcare workers, and other professionals. When things are bought out past the point of production, the supplies get more expensive. And if it is expensive, then Doctors will either have to charge even more from patients to cover the rising cost, or they will go without, creating a breeding ground for germs.
Instead of putting yourself and others in danger by buying out all the medical supplies, do keep some soap on hand. If you wash your hands regularly and pay attention to what you are touching, you are less likely to come out of this worse for wear.