Less than half of YouTube videos on allergic rhinitis provide useful information, the study found


Do you want to build a spice rack for your kitchen? Check out a YouTube video to see how it could be done. Do you have allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms that just won’t go away? Don’t do a random YouTube search as the information you find there is very likely to be inaccurate. A new study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunologythe American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) scientific journal showed that misleading content in terms of likes and comments resulted in more user engagement than videos with useful content.

According to research, 70% of patients with a chronic illness are influenced by information they receive from online sources and a quarter of internet users have watched an online video about a health or medical problem. Our study found that YouTube viewers may not be able to distinguish science-based information from misinformation. In reviewing allergic rhinitis related YouTube videos, we found that less than half of the videos provided useful information.”

Celine Lund-Nielsen Remvig, BSc, lead author of the study

The study authors analyzed 86 YouTube videos: 33 on “allergic rhinitis”, 31 on “hay fever” and 22 on “allergy”. The content was rated as useful (providing scientifically accurate information), misleading (providing at least one piece of scientifically unproven detail), or neither useful nor misleading (not misleading but providing no useful epidemiological, symptomatic or diagnostic information). Only 17.5% of the videos were uploaded by a medical specialist, doctor or healthcare provider, while 39.5% were uploaded by a TV show or YouTube channel.

“When our patients search online for information about their allergies, we want the information they find to be reliable,” says allergist David Stukus, MD, an associate editor of annals. dr Stukus was not involved in the research. “This study found that medical/health associations tend to be the most reliable source of information, while TV shows and YouTube channels are responsible for the most misleading videos. All videos uploaded by associations were rated as useful, while only 32% of videos uploaded by TV shows/YouTube channels were rated as useful.”


American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI)


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