Feeling Lucky? Not If You Use Google Instead of a Doctor

But infant sleep safety is just one subject area that has inaccurate Web information, doctors say.

What if a patient finds a bump and reads online that it's probably a cyst, asked Dr. Andrew Carroll, a family physician in Arizona. That patient might not see a doctor, and find out months down the line that the bump was melanoma all along.

Carroll said many of his patients also come to his office with bogus health products they read about online. One such patient showed him a bottle of Metanx, which is intended to help with diabetic nerve damage pain, and asked if there was anything less expensive that she could take instead.

"'You can take a normal multivitamin,'" Carroll said, upon looking at the ingredients. The product wouldn't have hurt her, but it wouldn't have particularly helped either, he said.

He said he's also had patients approach him about ASEA water, which he tells them basically amounts to saline (salt water) and doesn't have any real health benefits.

"People Google stuff all the time," Carroll said. "That's OK if it prompts someone to come into the office. What we're concerned about is when people find inaccurate information on the internet and something could be potentially dangerous."

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