HEALTHY LIVING | 8.29.16 | by Gia Dolney
The New York Times recently ran a multi-opinion interactive piece on how should parents use medical advice sites — both for themselves and their children. We admit that we Google a lot when it comes to figuring out what to do with our kids’ health. But, there’s that careful line between informing and educating … and drawing the conclusion you or a loved one suddenly has cancer and is going to die from a Web search. What is the balance? When is kid-diagnosis through the Internet not good?
Well, we’re not doctors. We’re just moms. So this article offers some thoughts and quotes to get you thinking how you will decide to use the proliferation of medical advice sites. (Please consult your physician with any medical concern, as this article is not meant to give you medical advice for your or your child’s condition.)
Read on for tips and ideas on how parents can use medical advice sites ⬇
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Be Careful With Your Site Choice
Let’s be honest. Some sites are sponsored sites by drug companies or company brands that would love nothing more than to get you to purchase their product. Their information can be good and informative, but you usually need to branch out to confirm what they are saying. Be informed.
Additionally, consulting with a physician might also be important, depending on the situation.
We usually Google a topic quite a bit to see if there is conflicting or confirming statements. The searching gives us a baseline to start, especially if we want to seek out alternative medicine tips and ideas.
We also have go-to sites that we love —
- Mayo Clinic (our most-loved site)
- CDC (U.S. government site — the best info for the Zika crisis)
- National Institutes of Health (U.S. government site)
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (U.K. government site)
- Healthfinder (U.S. government site)
Use Online Info To Help With Dr. Appointments
Dr. Aditi Nerurkar is an integrative medicine physician at Harvard Medical School. She stated at Mashable —
“She says many of those people come in after sleepless nights spent worrying about dangerous diseases they’ve learned about through web searches. ‘While I love their sense of curiosity and ownership of their health,’ she says, ‘their online searches can (and often do) go awry.'”
Dr. Nerurkar continues that the better way to approach online searching is to educate yourself, and then ask your doctor for clarification and recommendations. It can work really well, for example, that you educated yourself on the pros and cons of certain tests and treatment options. Then, at the doctor’s office, you can have a more educated conversation with the doctor.
Online education can help you be a better advocate for yourself and your children, as well.
And Dr. Martin R. Weiser, professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, says in the New York Times article that “patients who are well-informed, and participate in the decision-making process about their own care, are generally more satisfied with the results.” Certainly this would count for parents being involved in their children’s care as well.
Use Online Info To Live a More Healthy Life
Dr. Nerurkar also says —
“Alongside regular doctor visits, ‘If what you learn from your online searches can help make positive changes in your life, like eating healthier, exercising, getting more sleep or managing your stress, then that’s great.'”
Through online sites, we’ve also learned so much about basic first aid, how to apply KT Tape for a sprain (their videos are so well done!), home remedies (chicken soup anyone!) for colds, homeopathy and essential oils, and other preventive practices that keep our families in tip-top shape.
Again, though, be careful where you get your advice. Healthy lifestyle claims are more prolific online that medical advice. If you have any doubt, you can always consult your doctor.