You may have heard a range of advice about, self diagnosing on the internet and I am about to offer my two cents worth regarding Dr. Google.
I personally think that medical searches on the internet can be useful, if they are done correctly and are not done instead of seeking proper medical advice.
The internet is a wealth of information which is great, and also terrible, this means that you will not only find a wealth of information but information from extreme ends of a spectrum.
I think if you are looking for information or support, especially regarding rare diseases, or syndromes, then the internet can be extremely useful, I also think that if you are looking for a very quick idea of what is going on with your body, possible causes and questions you may like to pose to your physician then the internet can be great, however the downfall comes, when people self diagnose, and then self medicate, or start taking vitamins, or even become stressed due to their self diagnosis. Here are my tips for using the internet to look up health related issues.
1. ALWAYS ALWAYS seek medical attention
2. There is no harm in looking up possible causes, use what you find to prepare possible questions for your Doctor .Often when you are there you may forget your questions and remember after so Dr. Google can helpful in getting your questions and fears in order before you go to the Dr.
3. The internet can be a great place for meeting people and network with people who are suffering similar problems, these networks, are often a great source of support and information regarding how to access services.
4. Sharing with others may help you find equipment and support that is difficult to find
5. The internet can help you find recommendations for Doctors, who may suit your needs better
6. Understand that there are many miracle cures touted on the internet that may not deliver results
7. Try and use reputable sites
8. Try and verify how reputable sites are
9. Understand all the terrible diseases you read about may often be the extreme end of symptoms, do not stress, seek medical advice.
10. Do not stress out before you see a Dr. many diseases have similar symptoms
11. Try and check with known medical associations, research or educational websites to confirm information that you find on the internet
12. Go to a health care professional, even if you think it is minor.