AUSTIN, Texas -- As this country works to contain and also control misinformation about the coronavirus, the same can be said for the ongoing flu outbreak.
Last week, a four-year-old Colorado boy died from the flu after his mother sought advice from an anti-vaccine Facebook group on how to treat flu symptoms. The mother reached out to members of "Stop Mandatory Vaccination" saying her son was prescribed Tamiflu, but she didn't fill the prescription. She complained that natural remedies were not working and asked for advice.
As NBC News first reported, the advice that came in the comment section included breast milk, thyme and elderberry, none of which are recommended treatments for the flu.
“People have a lot of fear about protecting their health and their kids and that is why people care so deeply about this, and misinformation can become incredibly powerful because it is incredibly difficult to wade through all the information that is out there,” said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin who studies the social media behavior of the anti-vaccination movement.
Koltai says it’s important to talk to your health care providers or even look to government resources like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to know what’s real and what’s not.
Click the video link above to watch our full interview with Koltai.