Child health advice on Internet 'unreliable'

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London, Apr 12 (ANI): Browsing the internet in the hope of finding a good advice for your child's medical problem is a waste of time, say UK researchers who claim that medical information on various sites is unreliable.

The Nottingham-based team scanned search engine Google to find UK-based advice on five common issues, including breastfeeding and autism.

Archives of Disease in Childhood reported that only about 200 of 500 sites offered correct information.

According to estimates, 70 percent of UK households have access to the internet, and the trend of turning to search engines for a second opinion - or even a sole one - on medical matters is fast gaining momentum, reports The BBC.

A previous study, which looked at advice for children with a fever, found only three out of 22 sites visited gave information which matched current "best practice" guidelines.

The boffins from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust tested this by typing key words from commonly-asked questions into Google, restricting results to UK-based sites only.

The five chosen were "MMR autism", "HIV breastfeeding", "mastitis breastfeeding", "baby sleeping position" and "green vomit".

They found the quality of advice varied significantly, with half the search results failing to answer the intended question.

"Healthcare professionals should continue to strive to be the main source of information for patients but we should be aware that most will continue to use the Internet to gather information," the boffins wrote in the journal.

"We suggest that in addition to verbal and written information, patients and parents should be signposted to NHS, governmental or other pre-approved websites," they added. (ANI)

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