When the family physician is away, dicey medical advice is on display!
Whether you’re a first-time parent or not, when your child gets sick, a wave of anxiousness can hit. Parents, many times, imagine the unthinkable and go to the worst-case scenario — and, all of a sudden, a common cold is transmuted into a deadly disease that strikes one-in-a-billion kids and your child is that one!
We’re not trying to make light of when kids get ill, but when they do, parents are armed and ready to go to battle, which is awesome!
At Huneycutt Family Medicine, we’re here not only as a local family physician in Loveland but as a trusted resource you can always rely on. Learn more about how to find credible medical advice online in today’s post.
Should we really trust Dr. Google?
When our kids get sick we like to turn to the internet. And while the online space isn’t inherently bad — in fact, there is so much good — it can quickly escalate any medical issues and cause parents more alarm.
It’s important to seek information and become educated if your child has just been diagnosed with an illness, but it’s also vital to stay mindful of all the medical advice that’s catching waves online.
How do you know the medical information is credible?
Because as parents we’re not trained in verifying medical information or know whether or not the source is trusted, it can make combing through medical information on the internet quite tedious — we want answers, but we also want evidence-based and science-backed medicine!
Let’s look a little more closely at considerations to make when you’re looking for medical advice online.
Investigate the source.
If it’s not a large government entity, what is the source? Is it a blogger sharing their personal experience or a brand that provides medical information but is also trying to sell you something? Look at where their information is coming from and take it with a grain of salt.
Look for citings.
If you’re reading an article, scroll to the bottom of the page and see if the author cites any reputable sources and look for any internal linking that takes you to the website where they found their information.
Vet how current the information is.
Medical innovation and improvement can change rapidly, so if you’re reading an article online, it’s important to check when it was written. If it’s more than a couple of years old, you may want to look up more current information about the topic.
The information is peer-reviewed.
Especially if the information is making bold medical claims, it’s always a good practice to ensure the information being presented is peer-reviewed. This means that not only is the research solid, but other professionals and experts in the field have reviewed and verified the information.
What else can you look for?
- Look to see if the article was written by a doctor or health professional
- Determine the tone — is it balanced and unbiased?
- Is any funding declared?
- What type of advertising is on the website?
Now that we know what to look for when it comes to credible information, what are some online sources that are recommended?
Government sites and organizations that pertain to a specific area of medicine are always a great place to start. Below are a couple of sites to check out.
American Academy of Pediatrics – This is a great resource to find professional resources such as journals and publications of the most current practices in pediatric care.
Healthychildren.org -This website is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and compared to the above, it’s more parent-friendly. There a good number of resources that you can find for children of all ages.
US National Library of Medicine – This is a large database with a variety of research topics, including those focused on pediatrics.
PubMed – This is another database with a myriad of original and academic studies and research.
While there are many ways to decide if the medical information being presented is credible, at the end of the day, trust your gut! You know your child better than anyone, so if you think something is more than a cold, schedule an appointment!
Know that our family practice is always a resource and we’re just a call away! Connect with us today to schedule an appointment or talk through your child’s symptoms.