COVID-19 exposes the need for Health Literacy


I invite you to review the article, Health illiteracy is nothing new in America. But the pandemic magnifies how troubling it is. From the article: 

  • A Michigan library had to ask patrons to stop microwaving books to kill the coronavirus after noticing returned books with scorched pages.
  • The Cleveland Clinic issued a public warning about the danger of using vodka concoctions as a hand sanitizer when recipes started to circulate.
  • Then came the surge of calls to poison control centers about bleach. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had to double-down on warnings not to drink it or rinse food in it.

With 1 in 5 people struggling with understanding health literacy and medical information. Critically, the people with the lowest health literacy are those who are at the highest risk from COVID-19. They include older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, nonnative English speakers, and people with low income and education levels. 

Have you addressed health literacy in your classroom? Please consider sharing your ideas, tips, and strategies. 

Kathy Tracey