There is a big difference between receiving support and receiving medical advice from people on social media. Learn why one is okay and one should be avoided.
Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.
You may have noticed that I often include the above disclaimer when I write a new post stating that I am absolutely not giving medical advice and to consult your own care team. You see, I am not a trained medical professional, and I’m betting that 99% of you reading this aren’t either.
If I’m not giving medical advice, then what am I giving?
I’m sharing our experience; I’m sharing what works for us; I’m providing support. But I am definitely not dispensing advice.
I belong to several diabetes-centric groups on Facebook and participate in social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I cringe when people ask for advice and when others give it.
We should look to others on social media, such as Facebook, for support, not medical advice.
What’s the difference, you ask. There’s a big difference.
There are two types of questions that might be posed of others on social media:
Ugh! My daughter has evening sports and goes low in the middle of the night and all these blood sugar checks at 2:00 a.m. are wearing on me. Anyone else have this happen?
That is an example of asking for support, for an “I get it” or “yes that happens to us too, and it stinks!” It’s nice to commiserate with a “me too” and let the person know they aren’t the only ones and that others get it.
But then questions and answers also get into the realm of medical advice.
My child’s blood sugar is in the 300s, she’s vomiting and developing ketones. What should I do?
The only answer that anyone should give is “Call your endo.”
Did you know you can call your endo any time of the day or night? There is always someone on call to give medical advice.
I would bet that 99.99% of the people you interact with on Facebook are not endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators (CDEs), nurses, or trained medical professionals of any sort. And even if they are, they are likely not your care team.
Why shouldn’t you give or listen to “medical advice” on social media?
Everyone’s diabetes is different; everyone’s child is different. What works for one person may not work for another. And especially when it is an emergency situation (like high blood sugar, vomiting, and ketones) you need real medical advice because it could mean the difference between a few hours in the emergency room and full on diabetic ketoacidosis (DKE).
So my “advice?” Look to social media for support from those who get it, but look to your care team for advice when it comes to managing your child’s diabetes.