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

>> September 16, 2009

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.

1 people had this to say:

C. Beth September 16, 2009 at 5:35 AM  

Thanks for publishing this, Heather! I set up my blog to link to it tomorrow morning.

About This Blog

I love this adventure I'm on with my Rocket Scientist. The most recent addition to our expedition has me in awe daily. I can't wait to see My Little Man as a big brother. We started off by moving from Western Canada to Chicago and now we're in the UK. Will this Strange Mamma ever not feel like a stranger in the land?

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