Should the Internet be your Doctor when you get Sick?

How many of you Google your symptoms before checking with your doctor? A recent survey showed that as many as 60 percent of people turn to the Internet to diagnose their problem. Though the Internet can be a great source of information, it is often better to see a doctor when ill, as a wrong diagnosis might cause unnecessary worry.

For many people, the Internet has become their first medical opinion, and their physician’s advice their second opinion. Though the Internet may indeed provide useful information, a visit to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician might be necessary, especially if the symptoms worsen or the illness lasts more than a few days.  A doctor is more qualified in investigating the causes of the symptoms, either through a physical exam, or by testing for underlying problems.  This allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the problem and leads to a better-informed diagnosis.  Plus, it helps in eliminating any unwanted or harmful side effects due to other medical conditions.

The medical fraternity fails to admit the extent to which patients do online health-related research. Patients who have effective health-literacy skills know how to use the Internet prudently and safely. Patient-doctor consultations can integrate a patient’s Internet research in a better way that would benefit both patient and provider.

In conclusion, I would like to say that getting medical information on the Internet is fine, but self-diagnosis, if wrong, can lead to serious health issues. So, visit your doctor before your condition deteriorates or causes discomfort for more than a few days.

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