The Limitations of Online Health Forums

You’re probably familiar with “alternative” health forums like CureZone. Such sites can be great places for like-minded individuals to share their experiences, offer peer support, recommend resources, discuss news and the like. What they can never be is a substitute for medical, dental, naturopathic or other professional advice. As CureZone’s own disclaimer states,

You should not use the information on CureZone for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. You should always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem.

Pretty standard stuff.

What got us thinking about this? The nature of the query in a thread that popped up in our Google Alerts the other day:

I had my 4 cavitations debried yesterday and I guess overall it went ok. One of the sites, however, seems to be a bit inflamed — the others are kind of sore but not particularly swollen, but this one’s kind of swollen.

The dentist who did it is 2.5 hrs away and I simply cannot make the return trip to have a follow up, so I’d like to ask you all what you think I should do. The dentist gave me some homeopathic crystals to put under my tongue and I took them every 1/2 hr yesterday (well, until I fell asleep at 8pm), but since I’m also battling candida, I didn’t want to keep taking them today because they have sugar in them. [emphasis added]

I found a peroxide-based dental wash at the drugstore. Do you think that would be a good idea?

What they should do is call or email the question to their dentist.

In fact, if the post-op instructions they got were at all standard, they most likely told the patient just that: If you have problems or questions, call.

Not only would the dentist have better insight to the swelling, he or she could also reassure the poster that the sugars in homeopathic pillules are likely a non-issue. If the swelling and soreness are more than what’s expected or usual following cavitational surgery, a follow-up visit could be scheduled to deal with the problem directly.

The poster probably also wouldn’t have to wait so long for an answer.

More tips for evaluating online health information


Image by Corie Howell, via Flickr

Published by The Verigin Dental Health Team

A humanistic, holistic dental practice in Northern California, providing integrative, biological, mercury-free dentistry

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