There’s an abundance of health tips going around on social media these days, but as this story shows, some of them can actually have fatal consequences.
Zhou Xin, a 58-year-old man from Harbin China, recently became the victim of online fake news shared on the internet. The viral news snippet claimed that his home city was about to experience the three hottest days of the year, with extreme temperatures not only rendering heart medication completely ineffective, but, in some cases, actually making their effect harmful on health. After seeing the post widely shared on social media, Zhou, who suffered from chronic heart disease, decided to stop taking his daily medication for the three day period starting on July 17.
The middle-aged man, who had undergone two vascular stenting operations in the past, didn’t even consult his doctor before taking a break from his daily heart medicine. He just stopped taking it and went about his life as usual. The “three hottest days of the year” passed, and everything appeared to be ok, but on Thursday, July 26, while having dinner with some friend, Zhou started complaining of chest pain and collapsed to the floor. The 58-year-old man was rushed to the hospital, where ER doctors failed to revive him. His death was later attributed to a heart attack.
Xu Shanshan, deputy director of the emergency department at the First Hospital in Harbin, told Sinchew News that Zhou had fallen victim to the viral “three hottest day of the year, don’t take heart medication” rumor, adding that he was not the only one. Last week, while on night shift duty, Xu had three more heart-attack cases linked to the same online rumor. All three people died of acute myocardial infarction.
The Harbin doctor advised anyone suffering from heart conditions to never stop medical treatment without first consulting their doctor. As for the rumor, Shanshan said that patients should be especially diligent taking their medication on particularly hot days, as the risk of heart-attack is much higher.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to protect yourself from this sort of potentially-fatal misinformation – don’t believe everything you read on the internet!