Why You Shouldn’t Trust The Internet More Than Your Doctor

What is your initial reaction when you start feeling ill? Do you rush to your GP? Do you call your friend at med school for advice? There seems to be an ever growing number of people who impulsively turn to the biggest source of information for medical assistance – the Internet. Googling your symptoms and browsing for the most obvious cause is a common self-treatment technique used by people of all ages, but mostly teenagers and adolescents. The question is: is this the best and most efficient way of addressing such a serious issue?

Familiarize the risks

The most important thing we need to keep in mind when seeking answers online is where does the information come from. The web is a dangerous place to be looking for facts since only one click can determine if you end up reading a scientific research paper or some blogger’s very personal opinion on a hot topic. Bear in mind that there is always going to be a study to support any kind of agenda. There is a high likelihood that the person who published the so-called study is actually funded by an organization that has certain benefits from such results.

Unfortunately, health and proper nutrition are the core industries of many large international companies who need to control the flow of information and manage the ‘trends in lifestyle choices’. That’s one of the reasons today you may find that the best cure for a cold is homemade chicken soup, while the next day it’s going to be the latest flu-drug just released in local pharmacies.
Explore alternatives

So, what is the alternative? Waiting for the hospital to schedule your appointment and the first vacant slot is in 6 days? Or going to a private clinic to do all the expensive lab analysis? These may be the reasons why more and more people turn to the web for answers. FrontlineER reports a survey conducted by the British Medical Journal which identified more than 20 different applications that served as symptom checkers. Their overall success rate at pointing out the correct diagnosis and treatment was under 50%. This goes to show that smart phones are, in fact, not smart enough to be able to replace the human factor when it comes to resolving illnesses.

The human factor may be found on the internet, however, it should not be taken for granted. If you are confused by the symptoms your body is giving away, you could search for similar cases on public forums and chat rooms. It is a good way to get in touch with people who have had experience in solving their health problems, but keep in mind that everyone is a unique organism and your metabolism may not react the same way to a treatment someone else has gone through.

Always think twice

To sum up, although it is plausible to get useful advice online, you should do proper research in order to get as much information as possible before you make a decision on how to treat your current condition. Make sure you are able to decipher what your body is trying to tell you and take other people’s advice only if you are sure they know what they are talking about. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. A licensed doctor is your best choice, anyhow, even for a second opinion.

What Causes Eye Infections and How to Avoid It

Eye Infections

Some of the harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi which can attack human body can also invade the surface or the interior of the eye. There are many different types of infections, depending on the part of the eye which is affected and the very cause of the infection. One thing they have in common is the need to consult a doctor when you notice some of the symptoms (red eyes, itching, discomfort, watery eyes, blurred vision, eye pain, eye discharge, swollen eyelids and the surface around the eye). Some of them will require minimal or no treatment, while others, such as trachoma, if left completely untreated can even lead to blindness. Because it is better to be safe than sorry, you should know common causes of infection and learn how to avoid getting it in the first place.

Common Causes of Eye Infection

Majority of eye infections is caused because of the bacteria that are usually present on the skin surface come in touch with the eyes where there is some injury or irritation in the area. Still, viruses and bacteria which are not normally present on the skin surface. The infection can also spread through direct contact with the person who is already affected by the condition. The disease can be transmitted by touching contaminated objects and then rubbing the eyes without washing the hands previously. Infection can also be caused by a foreign body which enters the eye and scratches the cornea. If an eye comes in contact with some harmful chemical that can lead to infection – this includes synthetic eye makeup that can irritate your eyes. An injury or trauma to the eye and surgery can make the eye more sensitive to microorganisms’ attacks. People wearing contact lenses are more prone to an eye infection.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Causes of Serious Eye Infections

Some, not so common, causes can lead to a serious eye infection. Ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (fungal infection of the lungs) can damage the retina and harm, and even destroy the central part of the field of vision. Some of the common sexually transmitted infections (gonorrhea and Chlamydia) can lead to conjunctivitis. Herpes viruses can affect the eye similarly.

How to Prevent Eye Infections

Though there are some causes of eye infections you cannot avoid, there are others that are within your power. By taking (or not taking) some small actions and making some changes you can have a major influence on your eyes’ health. Here are the things you can do:

  • Wash your hands: This might seem obvious, but it is important to mention that before every contact between your hands and eyes. When outside use anti-infective sprays and cleansers.
  • Do not touch your eyes: Try to touch your eyes as less as you can.
  • Avoid chemicals: Avoid contact with chemicals and use organic eye makeup.
  • Avoid close contact with the person infected: If a close person has an eye infection avoid sharing some private items such as pillow, bedding, etc.
  • Eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep: Because poor diet and insufficient sleep can weaken the immune system, this makes you more vulnerable and exposed to potential eye infection.
  • Avoid dirt and dust: If you are, for some reason, exposed to dust and dirt try to wear sunglasses or some other kind of protection.
  • Care for your contact lenses: If you are wearing contact lenses you should follow the safety and hygiene tips, such as hand-washing before you handle them, removing them before sleeping and throwing them away according to manual.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure: Too much sun exposure can weaken the protective layer of your eye.

Do your best to prevent eye infection from ever occurring. Still, if you, besides your best effort, notice some alarming signs, make sure you visit a doctor.