Category Archives: Ze Rest of Ze Ztuffm

Getting Good Information About the Recent Pandemic

Is it safe to use ibuprofen to treat a fever? Is it safe to use marijuana during this outbreak? These are just some of the questions going around and we should all know how to find answers for them. There’s conflicting information from various sources, so we all have to learn how to hit multiple sources to see what’s going on. Right now, studies are going to be limited due to the recent nature of the outbreak. That being said, health professionals globally are going to share ideas with each other and some of that chatter may spill over into the media reports – and not all reporters know how to report science.

What we *do* know is that anything that stresses the lungs will leave a person more susceptible to damage from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Right there are two good keywords to use in searches. Everyone’s calling it “coronavirus” in the popular media, while scientific communities are using SARS-CoV-2 to identify the virus and COVID-19 to identify the disease. Using those keywords gives a better shot at getting quality results.

Next, when we see the site providing the information, examine the website itself to evaluate its accuracy of information. Local news stations, those are good for reporting things like what’s open and what’s closed and how many people locally are in the hospital, but not much more. National news outlets will have a higher degree of accuracy, but can still get a few things wrong. Websites with a strong political bias may be victim to Russian trolling – yes, the Russians are taking rumors and amplifying them on various websites that are much more political than they are scientific – so disregard those entirely as providers of scientific information. Entirely. Their information may actually prove harmful, which is why I say to disregard them entirely.

Websites affiliated with medical institutions, particularly medical research, will have the best quality information. Learn how to read their information carefully and patiently, as the more technical sites will use specialized terms and expressions to convey meanings. The specialized definitions themselves are not hard to learn – but they must be learned, so part of your reading of specialized articles will involve looking up words you don’t quite understand. Once you get the meanings, though, you’re able to better understand the next article.

As regards ibuprofen, the WHO has walked back an earlier statement cautioning against using that drug as a fever suppressant. That’s another thing to mind – conditions can change, so we need to be ready to change with them.

For marijuana use, the cautions are as regards to impact on the respiratory system and any activity that involves communal sharing of drugs or their delivery apparatus.

What about other questions? I just apply the above methodology to get the answers. In particular, I use those keywords SARS-CoV-19 and COVID-19 to deliver better results in my searches.