False info and pretend information have grow to be more and more prevalent in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, spreading quickly by means of social media and different retailers, creating confusion and mistrust. For sufferers managing persistent situations, reminiscent of rheumatic and musculoskeletal illnesses, discovering correct well being info in the course of the pandemic has severe implications for his or her well being and high quality of life.
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, tips and commonplace of care have modified quickly alongside new data about virus biology, mechanisms of transmission, affected person threat components, and disease-modifying remedies. This info glut has been troublesome sufficient for scientists and clinicians to maintain tempo with, a lot much less most people. What’s extra, propagation of medical myths, usually primarily based on preliminary and non-peer reviewed knowledge (and steadily fuelled by private opinions of these within the public eye), have engendered substantial pleasure among the many public about potential cures or preventive measures, in addition to substantial fears about threat. Lots of the extremely publicised medication have been amongst these generally utilized by sufferers with rheumatic illnesses, creating alarming drug shortages and producing confusion and anxiousness amongst sufferers. Hydroxychloroquine is a major instance, and social media continues to be rife with unfounded claims of hydroxychloroquine’s advantages in COVID-19, regardless of definitive proof on the contrary.
Media consideration surrounding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) additionally provoked substantial anxiousness early within the pandemic. Claims emerged that NSAIDs would possibly enhance the severity of COVID-19, resulting in pressing calls from the US Meals and Drug Administration and European Medicines Company for additional investigation. Most research exonerated NSAIDs with regard to COVID-19, together with a latest observational study
of greater than 72 000 folks within the UK displaying that taking NSAIDs doesn’t result in larger charges of demise or extreme illness in sufferers who’re hospitalised with COVID-19. NSAIDs have been additionally on the centre of controversy in the course of the 1918–19 influenza pandemic, when the US Surgeon Common advisable that aspirin be used to deal with the an infection, at a dose now recognized to be poisonous—possible contributing to elevated lung harm and demise in lots of.
Though the scientific neighborhood quickly gained data about particular person threat components linked to poor outcomes in COVID-19, this was one other space through which confusion abounded for sufferers, significantly within the context of interrupted routine scientific care. For sufferers with rheumatic and musculoskeletal illnesses, patient-centred organisations and charities have been essential in filling gaps within the provision of knowledge; for instance, the UK charity Versus Arthritis developed the COVID-19 Virtual Assistant
, a chatbot designed to assist folks with arthritis get related well being info referring to COVID-19. Others have turned to SMS (textual content)-based info provision, reminiscent of a 4-step COVID-19 risk assessment tool
that was developed within the UK utilizing nationwide steerage from physicians and disseminated to sufferers through SMS, leading to greater than 95% with the ability to precisely assess their very own COVID-19 threat.
COVID-19 vaccination programmes at the moment are underway in lots of nations. Not surprisingly, misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is rife, and anti-vaccination sentiment is distinguished, significantly on social media. Specialist advice
and vaccine training has been proven to extend uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. Certainly, sufferers with rheumatic illnesses within the UK who obtained an SMS-based COVID-19 vaccine educational video
reported feeling higher knowledgeable and extra assured concerning the obtainable COVID-19 vaccines, with greater than 90% reporting having an understanding that the vaccines are protected and advisable for them, in contrast with solely 47% earlier than watching the video.
Rheumatologists urgently have to develop methods to assist information sufferers by means of the tidal wave of COVID-19 info and misinformation, together with offering tips about the way to spot credible and reliable sources, as a recent study
highlighted. We wholeheartedly agree that such steerage is essential for sufferers to make knowledgeable health-related selections. Medical misinformation poses actual dangers to sufferers with rheumatic and musculoskeletal illnesses and to the general public basically, however analysis reveals that sufferers nonetheless belief their physicians and specialists and observe their suggestions. Counteracting the confusion and distrust that follows misinformation is an ongoing problem that requires artistic, multifaceted options. With an finish to the COVID-19 pandemic nowhere in sight and vaccine uncertainty prevalent, ongoing vigilance is crucial.
Publication Historical past
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.