Online Medical Advice: A Valuable Health Resource
Does the thought of a visit to the doctor’s office send shivers down your anterior vertebrae? Think that your needs could be better served by utilizing the vast array of online medical resources widely available throughout the ‘net? The web is without a doubt the largest repository of information and knowledge ever collected into one source, and with just a click you can be connected to viewpoints and advices of all stripes from the multitude of qualified professionals who utilize the Internet every day. With resources like that at your fingertips, who needs the needle pokes and fluorescent lights of the clinic, right?
INTERNET EXPERT ≠ REAL-LIFE EXPERT
OR, NORMAL PERSON + ANONYMITY = JERK
For one thing, these Internet doctors are a fantastic font of knowledge for nervous parents whose infants are looking sickly:
“i wouldn’t worry, she’s just exploring with facial movements… a 100.9 fever isnt that high or anything so don’t worry. in order for brain damage to happen she’d have to have a fever of 108 degrees for more awhile. enjoy her funny faces and catch them on video!”
Then again, there’s always the risk of…
“LULZ, I DUNNO LOL U MITE HAVE DAT DIZZYZ CALLD AYDS”
If a post-surgical site is troubling you, it’s good to know that reliable professionals are around to alleviate your concerns:
“I dont think you have screwed anything up. Inside your foot is full of tendons and meat, so for a start thats gotta keep things pretty in place after surgery.”
Fluoride in the water, you say? Thankfully, Internet doctors are on the scene to warn us about the toxic effects of this dangerous chemical:
“yes, fluoride is a neuro toxin, you will most probably loose all felling in youre genitals after the age of 23”
Yikes, all this is overwhelming! Maybe I’ll relax with a beer. Oh, wait–
“well becuz in beer there is a chemical…&& if it’z yhur first time drinking itz going to hurt a lot && becuz all our liver is freash && s0o if we do anything to hurt it that’s by drinking& smoking.”
Hm. That’s discouraging. But nobody can argue with the benefits of good hydration, lots of vegetables and a healthy night’s sleep, right?
“Hi one observation with one person was that on a day before water was missed and not enough was taken in that person had trouble with back pain the next day. If a person is dehydrated more will need to be taken in. “
“The funny thing about eating is that when you eat you stretch your stomach and that is what makes you hungrier. Many restaurants are on to this, items such as a salad stretches you stomach, but does not provide much substance. Add a preservative such as MSG(MSG makes you hungry) your dressing and that is why you get a salad at a restaurant.”
“you might want to consider the advice of Potatoes not Prozac, eat a potato before bedtime, and it will be good for your sleep.”
Well, all of this has been a convincing crash course in the medical ethics and enormous intellectual faculties of the Internet Doctor. These proud individuals are obviously knowledgeable and well-practiced, but it’s heartening to learn that even they know when to admit the limitations to their prodigious ability:
CONCLUSIONS AND REFLECTIONS
It seems evident that the so-called medical advice that one can find in online sources has the potential to be useful– WebMD, for example, has a staff of consultant physicians– but relying on the Internet for legitimate diagnostics is foolhardy at best and dangerous at worst. The great and terrible thing about the Internet is its egalitarianism: people can say what they want, wherever they want, with very little fear of repercussion. However, this freedom, combined with anonymity, can lead to rampant misinformation, speculation and even simple pointless malice. So please, if you’re having a medical problem, make it a point to speak with an expert– a real expert, with a real office, located on physical street and not the information superhighway.