Feeling sick? Facebook it!

Social media provides medical advice

It may seem like an unlikely resource for some, but more and more Americans are turning toward social media—especially Facebook—for health-related advice, according to a recent survey by the National Research Corp.

The survey found that 41 percent of 23,000 respondents use social media as a resource when it comes to their health. Of that 41 percent, 94 percent said they use Facebook to find educational videos and diet and exercise tips.

One theory for this trend is that many health-care agencies, providers and independent doctors have created Facebook pages, which are more interactive than traditional websites. For example, the Centers for Disease Control’s Facebook page has more than 80,000 fans, and provides users with tips to quit smoking and how to avoid drug-related deaths.

However, there are potential downsides to this move to social media. Some health-care professionals have expressed concerns about the trading of inaccurate information, since the websites allow for non-qualified individuals to spread information easily.