What Can YouTube Tell You About the Flu?


Six out of 10 Americans searched for health information online in the past year, according to the Pew Research Center in 2015, and you can bet that at this time of year, many of those searches are for “seasonal influenza,” “flu,” or “flu shots.”

For a study published in Chest Journal, researchers performed a keyword search for “seasonal influenza” on YouTube from January 28 to February 5, 2017. Then they analyzed the top 300 search results for video characteristics, source, and content, and classified the source as health care provider, alternative medicine provider, patient or caregivers, company, media, or professional medical society. They used guidelines from the CDC to develop a scoring system to evaluate video quality.

Most of the videos were provided by health care providers or professional societies and, not surprisingly, these videos scored higher than other types. While more than half of the videos studied attempted to educate patients and contained accurate information, they did not meet standards set by the American College of Chest Physicians for comprehensive patient education about influenza.

Sourced from: American College of Chest Physicians