Parents go online for medical advice before hospitals

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Parents are regularly using the internet to carry out research into the injuries, illnesses and medical conditions of their children, Reuters Health is...

Parents are regularly using the internet to carry out research into the injuries, illnesses and medical conditions of their children, Reuters Health is reporting.

New research has estimated that one in eight parents go online for medical and health information before taking children to hospital emergency departments.

The study was carried out by Dr Purvi Shroff from the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

She also found 50 percent of parents use the internet to try and find an answer for a health-related question concerning their child.

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Additionally, Dr Shroff discovered many parents are happy to visit health websites suggested to them by their child’s doctor.

Speaking to Reuters Health, Dr Shroff said: “Being invested in your child's health and wanting to learn more and make the best decision for your child is always a good thing.

“However, when it comes to using the internet, appropriate use depends on accessing good websites and knowing whether or not the information you find is applicable to your child,” she added.

She also stressed the need for parents to discuss their online findings with their child’s doctor and said doctors and pediatricians should then adapt the findings to the context of each individual child.

The study found the most popular websites for parents to visit were Wikipedia and WebMD.

In a stark contrast, the government-run website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children were rarely used by parents or guardians.

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