Dr. Facebook, Can You Hear Me
As a mom of two children, ages 14 and 9, I am one of many, many, many other moms who are members of probably half a dozen mom-type groups on Facebook. These groups can be a wonderful type of support for mothers! We can ask questions, share pictures of our kids, exchange recipes, vent about our partners, vent about whatever we need to vent about... and for the most part, it's a judgement-free zone. On the other hand though, it can be an eerily dangerous place when innocent questions about a child's rash or cough turns into a whole slew of comments suggesting a huge variety of different things. Now don't get me wrong here, I love to see communal support and parents helping other parents. I really do. But the problem I have here, is that every person who is commenting does NOT have the information needed to adequately help that child, nor do the majority of them carry a medical license. What five people could assume is a bad ant bite, could actually be a case of staph infection. Another example, a child has a cruddy cough and slight wheezing. People comment to use essential oils and sit in a steamy shower. What if that child actually has a case of pneumonia? Or something else is going on?
I really don't want to scare people, truly. I just want you to think. But the general public cannot be diagnosing what is wrong with your child, yourself, your friend, or your family members. That can be potentially dangerous and I really do not want to see anybody going through a horrific situation where they should've sought out medical attention from a medical professional. This is why when people send me questions via Facebook, or on messenger, or I am tagged in other people's posts, I make sure to tell them that I am NOT a medical professional and it is against the law for me to diagnose, treat, cure, heal, or prescribe. If you have a safety question such as "Can I drink peppermint tea for a stomach ache?" then yes, I can send you information to back up the research of peppermint being a supportive herb for the digestive system and include relevant safety information after asking you a variety of health questions to get your health history.
And this doesn't only happen in mom-type groups either! So please do not take this as a lash out towards mothers, because it is not. This happens in almost every type of health topic group that I am in. I've seen random suggestions for a multitude of things such as cancer, cancerous tumors, parasite infections, staph infections, diabetes, kidney disorders, liver cirrhosis, alopecia, eczema, asthma, allergies, gallbladder stones, kidney stones, COPD, bronchitis, flu, pneumonia, hepatitis, food poisoning, heart attacks, high cholesterol, hypotension/hypertension, endocarditis, scabies, autoimmune disorders, constipation, etc. The list goes on and on and on and on. I see comments suggesting juicing, fasting, alkalizing your body, colon cleanses, liver cleanses, pour apple cider vinegar in the tub, "there's an oil for that!", CBD products, medical cannabis, baking soda, enemas of coffee, iodine tablets, milk baths, intravenous vitamins, honey, and a multitude of "Oh! I've got just the thing for that, send me a PM!"
And I rarely see anybody ask the original poster about their health history. Mainly the only times that I do is when a practitioner of a field of study will recommend that they book a client consultation so that they can offer the proper support and educational tools for that individual.
It really makes me wonder, has the popularity of crowdsourcing for healthcare on social media made a positive impact among communities? Or has it had an even greater negative impact? I'm not denying that many remedies can be beneficial in supporting our body's systems, I do study Holistic and Integrative Health with a major in Herbal Medicine after all, but this new-ish trend of first asking social media forums before seeking out medical attention and getting a proper diagnosis from a medical professional has really got me concerned. How do you feel about this?
To end this rant (of sorts), I want to remind my readers and supporters to remember that doctors are doctors for a reason. They can legally diagnose people. They save people's lives. If you are uncomfortable with doing a treatment that a doctor recommends, you can always talk with them about it. With an official diagnosis from your doctor you can also seek out alternatives if that is the path that you want to take. There is an abundance of different types of practitioners and health professionals who would be very happy to help you out, safely. This is all about safety and reminding everyone of that. Another reminder is to don't be scared to ask for credentials. A professional with good ethics and morals should have no problem with providing you the necessary information to check their credentials. If they don't, I suggest you find a different person to work with.