Too much attention to the new coronavirus media reports will affect health?

During this period, the new crown pneumonia has escalated into a “global pandemic” and has received continuous attention from countless media. But while the public needs accurate and real-time information about the spread of the new crown, a new threat has gradually emerged: the psychological pressure caused by too much exposure to information about the new crown virus.

According to a paper from Health Psychology, psychologists Dana Rose Garfin, Roxane Cohen Silver, and E. Alison Holman discussed how a large amount of media information amplifies the pressure of the new crown. In the paper, the authors summarized research experiments on the relationship between the media and personal long-term health in the past 40 years, and gave suggestions for maintaining good mental health during the duration of the new coronary pneumonia.

Uninterrupted exposure to the news 24 hours a day a week for 7 days can lead to an increase in the body’s “fight or flight response”. The “fight or flight response” is an innate human instinct that allows our ancestors to quickly prepare the body for battle or flight by releasing hormones when encountering danger. Studies have shown that being in this state for a long time can cause both physical and psychological problems. After many previous major collective trauma cases (such as large-scale violent incidents or natural disasters), researchers have found that the type and amount of media information is inextricably linked to the physical and psychological changes people experience after collective trauma cases. .

For example, after the “9.11” incident that shocked the world, uninterrupted television reports for several hours a day are even closely related to the increase in post-traumatic stress disorder and acute physical health problems after 2 to 3 years. The psychological pressure brought about by the “9.11” incident has led to a surge in the number of cardiovascular disease patients in three years, especially those who are worried about the recurrence of terrorist attacks in the future. Similarly, the researchers found that in the 2014 Ebola virus incident, those who were exposed to media information for several hours a day were more likely to be anxious and panic, and that followed by worse performance than those who had less media exposure. After the Boston bombing, the groups that had been exposed to media information for the longest time had the most acute symptoms of acute stress disorder, even comparable to those who were present at the time. Such contact with the media can even form a vicious circle of contact and pressure: those who are psychologically worried will pay more attention and even actively seek more media information for comfort, but this behavior will increase their anxiety. In these cases, excessive early exposure to the media can affect long-term mental and physical health.

In times of turbulence and crisis, people usually rely on the media to obtain crisis assessment and response advice to protect themselves. When faced with uncertain or uncontrollable threats, people can feel anxious involuntarily.

The author believes that in the environment of the new crown “global pandemic”, this kind of anxiety caused by media information may affect the entire medical system and resource tendencies. Based on previous cases of global epidemics, excessive media coverage will lead to a surge in the number of emergency departments, even in areas that are minimally affected. During the new crown, similar things also happened.

In order to reduce the negative impact brought by the media,

The author made several suggestions:

1 The media should reduce the perceptualism in the reports and try to avoid attaching too many disturbing pictures.

2 The public should choose one or two credible media as information channels to obtain the latest information. This can reduce the contact time with the media, and it is not easy to be influenced by various unconfirmed, contradictory and unproven reports on social media.

3 During the COVID-19 period, various researchers such as health science experts and virus experts should provide useful information that officials can use now or in the future.

4 The community should transparently and accurately communicate with the public about effective daily protection measures (such as frequent hand washing, disinfection and social distancing, etc.).