Are There Two Internets?

Some of the stuff I come across on the internet has me shaking my head violently so.  And then I wonder where did they get their information from?  We all know the internet is a wealth of knowledge, but we’re also warned not to take anything too seriously on the internet, especially medical advice.  Because it’s hard to pick fact from fiction.

I tend to rely on reputable websites for my information.  So nothing like Crunchies R Us or Natural Gurus.  For the children I’ll reference the AAP or Kids Health (this is something my doctor has on her website for a symptom checker).  I also use things like WebMD with caution, CDC, and ACOG when looking for honest up to date medical information.  And I always consult with my doctor on what I read.

When I was pregnant with my youngest and nervous about returning to the hospital where I lost a baby I began searching the internet for information on homebirth.  I quickly discovered that given my previous c-section, my chronic high blood pressure, and previous problems with Gestational Diabetes I was not a good candidate and I moved on.

However, since then I have discovered this whole cult of women who would have encouraged me to ditch my doctor and have a homebirth.  There are women birthing at home with all of those complications which I flat out found made it unsafe for me, but they are finding exactly the opposite that it’s completely safe.

There Must Be 2 Internets

Somehow these women who are saying that all of this stuff is just a variation of normal manage to have something which backs them up.  I mean, it’s not a legitimate source that they have.  Or it comes from something that is extremely outdated.  Which of course leads me to believe that they must be looking for ways to make it safe.  Therefore they aren’t just looking up homebirth in a Google Search which as the first link you get something which very vaguely spells out what’s safe and what’s not safe and number 1 and 2 under the don’t do if you are diabetic or have chronic high blood pressure.

After that are a bunch of blogs which have varying different opinions about the safety of homebirth, but again this comes down to the whole be careful who you listen to on the internet.  Sure, I write a blog.  Sure, I want you to listen to what I have to say and take my advice, but you don’t know me.  I can read a study on the internet, but does that mean I’ll necessarily understand everything that it’s saying?  Probably not.  I don’t have education in the medical field.  What I think I’m reading in a study might be completely off.

This is not to say I cannot be trusted because I would never try to interpret a study.  And I would never tell anyone that I’m an expert in something I am not.  I will give my opinion on things or share what I have been told, but I forever recommend consulting your doctor in things because no matter what the doctor is an expert and certainly is more experienced than I am in your medical history as well.  That’s not to say doctors have all of the answers.  Sometimes we just know when something is wrong and if the doctor isn’t listening, then it might be time to seek a 2nd opinion from another doctor, not from some stranger on the internet.  Google is a great tool, but it can’t tell you when you are being dealt a load.

This Goes For Everything Not Just Birth

While I used birth as an example here this isn’t the only area which there seems to be some serious misinformation being handed out.  I recently read a blog post where the blogger said she doesn’t put sunscreen on her children and went on to explain her reasoning.  And she highlighted it with a lot of medical jargon which she knew nothing of what it meant and it also came heavily from the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and vastly outdated studies.

Now she wants to not put sunscreen on her children, that’s on her.  And it will literally be on her because if those kids get severe sunburn and they find out that she purposefully does not apply sunscreen to help prevent that, then she could lose her kids for neglect.  Moderation is not key since just 15 minutes in the sun can cause a burn.

I am not perfect, my children have had sunburns because spots were missed or we didn’t apply it soon enough.  But I know all too well the feeling of a blistering sunburn having had severe blistering sunburns twice in my life.  Not my mother’s fault, I was old enough to put sunscreen on myself and she provided it for me, but it hurt.  I never want my children to experience that kind of pain.

And I recently wrote something about the toxicity of sunscreen vs skin Cancer.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation the threat of skin Cancer from the sun is very real and a much larger threat than the sunscreens we have been using for years.  Now that’s a source that I take seriously because they are devoted to researching skin Cancer and while the EWG talks a lot about the Cancer causing agents in the products we use they have no concrete proof to that and really nothing is completely without some sort of risk.

You either risk getting skin Cancer by not using a product that is meant to protect against the UVA/UVB rays or you take on a possible risk of some sort of ingredient in the sunscreen causing some form of unknown Cancer.  There’s no ifs ands or buts about the fact that exposure to UVA/UVB rays does cause skin Cancer.  There are still questions about whether the ingredients found in sunscreen cause Cancer.  So what do you think?  Shouldn’t we protect against the known beyond a shadow of the doubt risk?

And this is not some conspiracy theory.  It’s very well documented that the sun can cause skin Cancer.  Even the EWG acknowledges that just one sunburn in childhood doubles your chances of getting skin Cancer.  Therefore no matter what having sunscreen on is better than not having it on.

So be careful what you read on the internet.  If you are looking to be told that what you are doing is right, then I’m sure you can find it on the internet somewhere, but at what cost.  Sometimes being right isn’t a good thing.  Especially when your decisions don’t only involve yourself.

What is your favorite source on the internet for medical advice?

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  1. [...] have access to so much now about birth thanks to the internet.  But like I’ve said recently we have to be careful what we read and who the information is coming from.  Because it might not [...]

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