In a time when we rely on “Google” to answer almost any and all questions that come up on a given day, more people are turning to the internet for medical advice.
As a parent I am a member of various blogs and websites so I often come across the use of internet and social media platforms as a first go-to for other parents seeking such advice. For example, I often read blog posts on the safety of various medications, skin products, sleep surfaces, infant feeding advice, advice on vaccines, etc. People are using the internet to research symptoms prior to coming to the doctors' office or will self-diagnose and not see their doctor at all. The amount of knowledge at our fingertips is both amazing and daunting. On the one hand, the internet and social media bring people with similar illnesses together and can offer meaningful support. On the other hand, there are many sources of false information that can not only confuse parents and patients, but can also be harmful.
As a parent and a pediatrician I appreciate how the availability of this information has transformed the doctor-patient relationship. I think it helps foster excellent discussions and new ways to approach illness in children. As a doctor, I also feel it is part of my job to help guide patients to the most accurate websites rather than leaving them to feel overwhelmed. I hope the following pointers can help patients navigate the seemingly endless amount of information and advice available online.
Specifically for pediatrics, the websites I like most for general information are:
Our PAGS website has a wealth of information. There is a section to the right with links to over 100 articles that you can search based on your child's symptoms. This same section has medication dosage guidelines. There is resourse section with many more websites for many common pediatric physical and mental health concerns.
- Angela Jacques, M.D.