Sadly, it’s no April Fool’s joke

My article in the JEP; Summary: don’t get taken in; here’s how to check the facts

It’s April Fools’ Day and I can’t think of any jape around the coronavirus outbreak, but I hope you find plenty of funny other wheezes today.

How to avoid sharing viral fake news

There are all number of faux help messages…  prefaced with vague personal associations like ‘the uncle of a friend who has a Masters’ degree and works in a Chinese hospital’.

They contain some correct advice (“Wash your hands”) but add many misleading or wrong tips such as: You don’t have the virus if you have a runny nose; Have hot drinks and avoid ice cold drinks; Sunlight will kill the virus.

These posts play to your emotions, tell you to copy and paste and not share, and are peppered with bad , punctuation and many exclamations marks!!!

Visit who.int and gov.je for the actual information and fullfact.org and snopes.com to check for fake news.

So easy to spread

I’ve written about this before, but in the light of our current predicament, I’ll repeat it: in one experiment, one volunteer was fitted with a device that emulated a runny nose.

The fluid had an invisible dye that would show up under UV light. All volunteers mingled socially.

After a while, the UV light was switched on: dye showed up on the upper bodies, heads, faces and hands of everyone there, and on the furniture, doorknobs, bowls and glasses.

Now imagine adding coughing or sneezing to the mix and think how the coronavirus thrives in spots of spittle and snot…

Ignoring the lockdown?

If you are reading this and not observing the lockdown because you feel this shouldn’t apply to you, then please think again.

I’m generally quite easy-going, and love to encourage, not cajole, but I feel very strongly about this. Everything you touch or cough or laugh on can be contaminated; it’s that simple.

It’s not a case of “I’m feeling fine and dandy, so I haven’t got it and I can’t pass it on.” You don’t know that. And you don’t know if the person next to you saying just the same thing will pass it on to you, and then you pass it on to someone who will suffer the consequences.

Sing!

Singing has many proven benefits for health and wellbeing, so belt it out and enjoy! There are online groups cropping up and BBC Radio are asking you to join in tomorrow morning (see bbc.in/39qpOgA).

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Jacqui Carrel is a hypnotherapist and has released free recordings for anyone feeling anxious or stressed. You can download them from jacquicarrel.co.uk/free-hypno.   

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