Food allergies: danger from misinformation from the Internet

Food allergies: danger from misinformation from the Internet

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Misinformation about food allergies on social media and its consequences

There are many different statements in social media networks about food allergies. Often people are misled by the incorrect statements about food allergies from friends on Facebook and Twitter.

A recent investigation found that many people believe their friends on social media to make false statements about food allergies, which can contribute to health problems. The results of the study were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Houston (ACAAI).

Wrong statements can contribute to health problems

Many people on social networks seem to be real experts on food allergies. At least it can be assumed that their statements are believed. However, false statements can lead to serious negative health effects.

If you have a food allergy, you should trust trained specialists

"Social media has some advantages and there is a lot of good information out there," reports Dr. David Stukus, chair of the ACAAI Annual Meeting Program Committee in the press release. A problem with this topic, however, is that social media gives everyone an equal voice, unfortunately also for people who cannot provide correct information. Many people seem to assume that through their own research with online search engines, they develop the same knowledge that trained medical professionals have.

Misinformation has a negative impact on medical decisions

Of course, it is not surprising today that people search for a wide variety of health information online. Unfortunately, there are also many alternative or incorrect facts on the Internet, which are included in your own research. According to the current study, this misinformation has a negative impact on the medical decisions of people with food allergies. For example, sufferers can easily find false online food allergy promises, although in reality there is no cure for the allergy. Such types of treatment appear to be very appealing at first, but they have not been adequately tested and it remains to be seen whether such treatment is actually effective.

Don't believe all the information on the internet

Some people also spend a lot of money, for example, to get lists of foods that they shouldn't eat because they are said to be sensitive to them. Unfortunately, such lists are often meaningless and should therefore be viewed with caution.

Discuss questions with specialist staff

People can bring their collected online information with them to their allergist to discuss it. Answering questions about food allergies can help correct misconceptions. People with food allergies should take enough time to discuss ideas about food allergy and their questions.

Use trustworthy sources for online research

It is also recommended that people with food allergies ask allergists for recommendations for reputable and trustworthy sources about food allergies if they want to find out more about their illness online.

How can you recognize dubious sources?

There are various measures that are used by providers who want to sell products or services online. Be suspicious of information that claims to be scientific without citing or referring to studies. Do not trust personal anecdotes about healing success and be suspicious when celebrities advertise certain products - they are usually well paid for advertising. As before, if something sounds too good to be true, it's probably just a myth. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Social media alternative facts on food allergies can negatively impact medical decisions, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (query: 08.11.2019), ACAAI

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