You see a rash on your baby’s tummy. You have a funny pain in your head. Your cough won’t go away. What do you do? Book an appointment with your GP? Nope, you turn to a much more unreliable source Dr Google. Or should I say unreliable?
We are all guilty of it now and then. Its quick and easy and can provide some reassurance but sometimes it can scare the crap out of us and convince us we have every illness under the sun. There are of course reputable sites such as the NHS website but there are a tonne of forums where so called “experts” sit and this is where the danger lies; these people are not qualified and are not experts. There is a lot of misinformation and scaremongering.
I am sooooo bad for Googling. It has got to point that I have to stop myself from doing it now. I suffer a bit from health anxiety now and then, which I must write about at some point, as it is very common. Google is not my friend when I am having a bad spell.
One of the longest times I spent online was when I was trying to get pregnant with the gremlin. With your first pregnancy you have no clue what pregnancy symptoms you may have. Every little niggle you wonder, am I pregnant? Is this it? I spent so long on pregnancy forums and various sites looking for answers. Ultimately, I wasted a lot of time and the only real symptom I had was bloating! I didn’t actually know I was pregnant in the end and I had a negative test so went out for a few drinks. Complete waste of time and effort. When I actually did the test it was a week after my period was due and I didn’t even feel a bit nauseous or tired!!
It can be false reassurance too. I had a pigment change on my skin after having Piglet and Dr Google told me not to worry and I would have left it and did leave it for a while. However, a niggling part of me decided to go and I was referred to a dermatologist, into the cancer clinic, which felt scary. Luckily it was fine and just linked to pregnancy but it’s being monitored so I’m glad I went to the GP.
Ultimately if you have any health worries you need to call your GP but there are more reliable services that you can use online such as the Online Doctor Lloyds Pharmacy where you can be assessed by a UK Registered Doctor and be assigned treatment if clinically recommended.
It’s hard not to fret and pick up your phone to Google but if you are a bit of a worrier sometimes, it’s best to stay away and stick to reliable sources and health professional.
Easier said than done? True. But I am definitely working on it.
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.