Navigating Social Media

Navigating Social Media

We live in a digital age and we can learn just about anything online.  It can be both terrifying and empowering all at the same time. We’re blessed with the internet superhighway where you can easily and quickly look up your asthma symptoms and medications, check for reviews on doctors and the list goes on. Social media has really come into the spotlight in recent years and can be both a blessing and a curse. Being able to connect with people all over the world who you wouldn’t necessarily be able to otherwise.  There are a few things I wanted to touch on when it comes to navigating social media that have definitely affected me personally and I wanted to share with you as well.

Unsolicited medical advice

This is a huge stressor for so many asthmatics. I personally have encountered unsolicited medical advice from both friends and strangers online more times than I can count. It ranges from “hey I heard about this new medicine, you should totally try it.  It might help your asthma”; to “I’m selling such and such vitamin/product and you need it because it will help your asthma get better or even go away!”  Some of these could be just someone trying to make a buck off of you because there are plenty of people out there who prey on asthmatics who are desperate for some relief they’ll tell you anything. But there are others who genuinely care and would recommend a new medication they maybe saw a commercial for or whatnot and just want to tell you about it.  Tread lightly and be sure to do your own research.

“Doctors”

In different groups on social media, it is so very important to not take medical advice from strangers on the internet. They could claim to be a medical professional and maybe they actually are, but in this day & age people can and unfortunately do go to great lengths to fake it. I’ll also mention that any actual medically licensed person would absolutely not give out major medical advice to anyone over the internet who they have not personally seen nor examined and know the entire medical history of. Not many people would put their medical license on the line for that.

Internet bullies

Sometimes people are just mean. They hide behind a keyboard and try to make other people’s lives as miserable as their own. Or perhaps it’s a cry for help?  Either way, be diligent about internet trolls and don’t engage or argue if it affects your health. They try to get a rise out of others and if you don’t give it to them they won’t win. Remember that it’s okay to walk away from social media and give yourself a break when needed.

Support groups

I have “met” some of the most supportive and nurturing people online. There are tons of support-type asthma groups out there on the web. People who just get it and understand the frustration of living with asthma. Having a group of people you can have discussions with at all hours of the day or night can be amazing. We cheer each other on and check in on a regular basis. Not all support groups are created equal. If you aren’t meshing with one, try another!  There are so many out there (and you can also create your own!)

Above everything, take all of your concerns and questions to your own doctor. ALWAYS consult with your doc before trying ANY supplements or things you might hear about online. It’s the safest way to go about it. And be diligent when navigating social media. While it can be a daunting and confusing place, it is also often times a great source of comfort and camaraderie.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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