De-stress to boost immunity

by Andy Bryenton

With understandable worry about the effects and spread of Covid-19 comes an added burden of stress — social media misinformation.

With CNET calling the online technology ‘the cause of and solution to all misinformation’s problems,’ and social media companies themselves rushing to enact self-checking methods to erase ‘fake news’, the call is out from some doctors to cut this largely non-fact-checked stream of information out altogether.

For people who are easily distressed, there’s a good medical reason for this. Hoaxes such as the rumour that Covid-19 is a biological weapon (disproven), that it’s caused by 5G phone technology (utterly disproven), or that it can be ‘cured’ by drinking everything from electrified orange juice to bleach (don’t do these, obviously) ramp up levels of stress and the chemical cortisol in the bloodstream.

Getting agitated, being made to feel fearful or angry by online opinions from armchair experts and conspiracy enthusiasts suppresses your immune system, as cortisol, the stress hormone, floods your system.With official channels the only sure source of actionable information, and most of these urging calm, order and reasonable response to protect us all, perhaps it’s time to switch off the fear-inducing echo chamber, which social media talk-boxes have become in recent weeks? It could be good for you physically.