Mackay Mothers’ Facebook group has doctor’s help

BUMPS, lumps, rashes or bites on your little one?

Mackay mums are increasingly turning to Facebook to seek medical advice - posting photos of their children's skin problems or details of their fevers to an online mothers' group.

Should people be using social media to seek medical advice?

This poll ended on 14 January 2016.

Current Results

Yes

16%

No

83%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Mackay Mums and Bubs Facebook page administrator Raelene Wells added the only male member, Dr John McIntosh, to the group, so he could provide advice to women.

"If a mum asks a question now, and it's advisable to go to a doctor, we tag Dr John into the question and he comes and gives his professional advice," Mrs Wells said.

"If he can't give advice from the photo, if the photo's not good quality or whatever, he recommends they go and see a GP."

Dr McIntosh, who owns the Mackay GP Superclinic, said providing medical advice over social media was no riskier than giving advice over the phone.

"Practising medicine's a risk, whether you've got the patient in front of you or whether you're on the phone," he said.

He said he provided advice to improve medical understanding in the online mothers' group and to reduce women's anxieties.

"There's a lot of lack of information and lack of understanding out there in the community," he said.

"There's so many people on Facebook discussing these things and sometimes not getting the right advice, so it's much better that we help these people as much as we can."

Dr McIntosh said his main concern with giving advice over Facebook was that it could come too late.

"For me, one of the biggest problems is a Facebook message may be posted, but we may not get it (in a) timely manner," he said.

"If I'm away or (my assistants) are busy, the message may not be processed for an hour or two, or three or four."

He said he was happy to provide advice on all types of medical matters.

"We've had people post photos of things that are presumably fungal skin rashes... anything from nappy rash to fevers in kids to coughing and breathlessness," he said.

"If it's more severe we'll say you need to see a doctor."



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