Many go online for medical advice, as apparent in neighborhood blogs found across the First Coast. However, doctors explain you should think twice before following someone else’s orders.

How to help induce labor? Or seeking a food allergist. Those are all posts found in blog groups around the First Coast. The questions are not posed to doctors but the crowd: a different way to diagnose. But the problem is — can the information be trusted?

Happening in Jacksonville— a medical conference focusing on social media put on by the Mayo Clinic. So we took our questions to the top of Mayo’s social media chain, including an actual medical doctor.

Is there a danger with going to social media with your medical questions?

“I think there’s risk with any tool available to us, patients should be aware not everyone online has their best interests at heart,” Dr. Farris Timimi , medical director of social media for Mayo Clinic said.

But, Dr. Timimi adds the encounter could mean a better-informed patient when they do meet with a doctor. Lee Aase created all of Mayo’s social media platforms over a decade ago. He said there is no stopping the spread of advice, but he’s hoping those using it, verify it.

“They’re looking for people like them who have shared some of the same experiences and looking for that advice,” Aase said.

Going through some of the comments on these different group pages — lots seeking recommendations. Aase said typically when issues get more complex do the searches change. “

“If healthcare organizations are making the reliable trustworthy information available. That hopefully will drive out the bad stuff,” Aase said.

He adds the next development – patients asking doctors questions anonymously online: a way to protect their privacy but still get them the answers they need.