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Mums are continuing to turn to social media and the internet for medical and health advice.
Mums are continuing to turn to social media and the internet for medical and health advice.

Social media good for your health?

FORGET reading a book to go to sleep, more than half of all mobile phone users check Facebook before turning out the lights.

Alarming research from the UK shows almost 50% of people who go to the gym check Facebook while working out.

As parents, mums and dads are told to limit their children's screen time but in reality adults are checking in on social media sites on average 14 times a day. But is it bad for our health?

American Researchers found digital friendships - like those on Facebook and to a lesser degree, Instagram and Twitter - can have health benefits particularly for people feeling isolated and that can include mums.

A study from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Brigham Young University likened prolonged loneliness to being as detrimental to your lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

It should come as no surprise then that when it comes to parents, mums are the highest users of social media with 81% of mothers active on Facebook.

The figures from the Pew Research Centre in America show mums are using the site to connect with friends but also as a source of information.

One in four mothers surveyed said they get support from their Facebook network particularly on parenting issues. Ask any mum and they will tell you the internet is usually their first source for medical information too.

House Call Doctor marketing manager Lisa Bourke said mums were a core group of the medical company's Facebook account.

"We know from our call logs that mums regularly rely on our service when they need a doctor and I know from monitoring our social media that they are very active on our social media, especially when we post articles about health and wellness," Ms Bourke said. 

She said House Call Doctor was popular with mums because of its traditional approach. 

"Kids get sick at odd hours and we know that and that's why we have doctors on the road at night, on the weekends and on public holidays when regular GP's are closed," Ms Bourke said.

The Pew Research Centre found 66% of social media-using mums had found useful information in the 30 days prior to taking the survey compared to 48% of dads.

"We cover a wide range of health issues from doctors giving advice on how to cope with cold and flu - which is very relevant now we are in flu season  - through to how to identify the signs of stroke and what to do," Ms Bourke said. 

"We know people often go to the internet and social media before they call a doctor so we make sure the information we post is medically accurate and researched.

"We also know from how often the stories are shared that we're helping start conversations about very important health issues and that's important to us and everyone in our network."

You can join House Call Doctor's online network through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or access information online HERE. 

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