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Sunday 25 August 2019

Don't use websites for child health, parents told

Allison Bray

PARENTS have been warned against the dangers of trying to diagnose their children's health problems using the internet.

Close to half of Irish mothers are using the web to diagnose conditions, a new survey reveals.

An online poll of 1,800 mothers in April conducted by the parenting website found that 43pc of respondents consult the internet first when their child presents with symptoms rather than going directly to a doctor or pharmacist.

But such a practice can cause unnecessary anxiety or result in a misdiagnosis, according to Dr Conor Fitzgerald.

"Firstly, if your children have a serious condition, it might go undetected and untreated without a professional, medical examination by a doctor. Secondly, internet searches often lead parents to believe their child might have a more serious condition than is actually the case, creating unnecessary worry."

But Dr Fitzgerald, who has a GP practice in Lucan, west Dublin, said parents should always consult a GP if they are concerned about their child's health.

However, he added the internet could be a useful tool once a diagnosis has been made by a doctor, whereby the patient can read up on their condition.

Irish Independent

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