Posted by: yourhealthradio | December 29, 2011

House Calls – Finding Medical Information on the Web & Nail Shellac

House Calls from the Carrboro Citizen 12.29.11

Dear HOUSE Calls, When I have a question about my health, I often type it into Google but so many results pop up. How do I know which ones to trust?
The first thing you should ask is, “Who is providing this information, and why?” There are many parties with commercial interest in health care. That does not mean information put on the web by a party with commercial interest is bad, but simply that you should understand that interest. Unfortunately, the absence of commercial interest does not mean the information is unbiased or high quality. One approach we like is to find long-standing patient-run chat rooms on major Internet search engines and observe, ask questions and find out where other patients have found reliable information. Don’t ever jump on the first piece of advice or information you get, but observe the dialogue for a bit. Another approach is to ask your doctor about recommended websites particular to the condition you are facing. Some doctors have regular websites they trust and send patients to, like their specialty’s organization website. The downside here is that because the information is high quality and reviewed, there may be less of it and it may not be updated often enough. The last advice we have on this is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. We live in a time of unprecedented information access, and we all must learn to be good consumers of information.
Dear HOUSE Calls, I’m wondering about this new shellac that is used in nail salons. Is there any health downside?
Shellac is a new type of manicure that lasts longer and requires lots of steps. It requires you to put your hands under UV light multiple times. Because this is new, we don’t know what the long-term health effects may be. We are cautious about this because of the repeated exposure to UV light. We know that increasing UV radiation increases a person’s risk of skin cancer. This stuff is very hard to remove (which is part of the allure), but that means that as your nails start to grow out or if you want to change color, you need to have your nails soaked in 99 percent acetone and wrapped. This process may be damaging to nails and nail beds. So, the jury is still out.

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