Back on the horse and The Failure of Dr. Google.

A couple months ago (was it that long? I could look it up, but…nah) I had the opportunity to guest post for cbethblog.  I was truly honored as hers was one of the first blogs I started following almost a year ago when all this began (again, wow, has it been that long?).  So, as I try to get back on the horse, I’m starting slow and using a guest post from the lovely C. Beth:

The Failure of Dr. Google

Recently Zoodle, my 17-month-old son, got a diaper rash. I think it started as a reaction to his diaper brand. It then turned into hives, and then settled into a slightly itchy, red rash that just wouldn’t go away. Then he got red bumps on his tummy, face, and legs.

So I did what any mom would do–I used Google to find descriptions and photos of rashes. Okay, maybe that’s not what any mom would do. A lot of moms would go to the doctor. But I really wanted to figure it out. We live in the U.S. and have a high deductible health insurance policy, and I just didn’t love the idea of spending $80 to get a rash checked out.

My conclusion from looking at the rash photos was that the red bumps were due to a heat rash.  I hoped Dr. Google’s diagnosis had been correct, as I looked for treatment information. I read that one thing I

shouldn’t do was put any oily lotions on him, since that can make heat rash worse.  Instead, I should use baby powder and give him plenty of naked time.

I followed Dr. Google’s instructions. The rash persisted.

Finally, I gave in and called my doctor’s office. They got him in that day, and I found out that Zoodle did not have heat rash; he had eczema.

Here’s the thing–eczema treatment is pretty much the opposite of heat rash treatment. No need for powder, since that can dry the skin more. I was told to use oily petroleum jelly to lubricate the skin. And I got a prescription some fantastic steroid cream to help clear it up too.  Soon after implementing our doctor’s recommendations, Zoodle’s rash was well on its way to clearing up.

That’s when I realized–Google can lead me to a lot of answers, but Dr. Google doesn’t take the place of our family doctor. Nothing online can replace an experienced doctor looking at my child, hearing his history, and making a diagnosis.  It was an important lesson to learn.

Now, I’ll still use the Internet when I have medical questions. Sometimes I find great, easy answers to our problems just by doing a quick search. But next time I have an issue that stumps me, hopefully it won’t take me quite as long to call the person who actually went to medical school–no offense to Dr. Google.

With any luck, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program shortly.


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