Do you know what happens if you Google the phrase “proof that the earth is flat?”
You get more than 23,000,000 hits, with many of them asserting that there is “proof” that the earth is flat, citing NASA “classified” images and experiments you can do at home.
However, I would assume that most CDT readers do not believe the world is flat, despite the results of this Google search.
Driving home each day, I pass a sign that instructs passers-by to Google the negative effects of vaccines. Certainly, if you conduct a Google search for the negative effects of vaccines, you will find several hits. However, if you conduct a library search, based on research and data, you will find that vaccines are healthy, safe and an important component of community well-being.
As health providers, we must promote practices that are research-based and represent best practices. Encouraging Google searches promotes fear and misunderstanding, rather than informing the community of actual benefits and risks. My only hope is that my fellow residents understand the shortcomings in gathering information in this way, and do not rely on misinformation to make health-related decisions.
Melissa Hunter, Bellefonte
The writer holds a Ph.D. and is a licensed psychologist.