The internet can be a valuable resource to find health and medical information, and that’s where parents often turn when they have concerns.
“The problem with Googling medical information for your child is there’s so much information on the internet and not all of it is good,” says Dr. Pilar Bradshaw of Eugene Pediatric Associates.
It’s especially important now, in the midst of the current COVID-19 health crisis, to contact your physician immediately if your child becomes sick. Because the coronavirus exhibits many of the same symptoms as other illnesses—and children can spread the virus even if their symptoms are mild—testing for the virus is the only way to determine if it’s COVID-19.
“If your child has any symptoms of illness, call your doctor,” says Dr. LoRanée Braun, a pediatric infectious disease expert. “Let your health care provider set up a way to test your child to make sure we can identify if he or she is sick and to prevent your child from infecting other children in school, daycare or even at home.”
Evaluating online medical information
If you do look for medical information on the internet, it’s important to consider:
- Who’s providing the information? Check out the site’s “about us” page. Are they health professionals? What are their credentials?
- Where does the information come from? Is it based on research findings published in reputable medical journals?
- Is the information objective? Is the person or organization that’s providing the information profiting?
- Is the information current? Beware of undated content and broken links.
At EugenePeds.com, Eugene Pediatric Associate’s website, parents can access evidence-based information on a wide range of topics about child health and development. This award-winning site has been accessed by parents in every state in the U.S. and 97 countries around the world.
“One of the things about EugenePeds.com, that’s really nice, is that you can search common conditions for your kids’ medical conditions and find medically accurate information for that middle-of-the-night earache or fever,” says Dr. Bradshaw.
Talk with your health care provider
In addition to EugenePeds.com, reputable sites for information about children’s health and development include:
Always remember that while online information may be helpful, it’s no substitute for seeing your doctor.
“All medical websites have disclaimers that you are still responsible for how you follow the information,” says Dr. Bradshaw. “So, even if you find what you are looking for—if there is a problem you are really concerned about—that is always worth a call to your doctor’s office.”