The internet is a remarkable tool that can enlighten, educate, and empower. But it can also sometimes be a hindrance, such as when you suspect you have a health issue. Most injuries and illnesses require specialized care that only a medical professional can provide. Furthermore, the information given on the internet can be misleading, encompassing all potential variables and outcomes and not taking the specific needs and symptoms of the individual into account. To help keep health-related anxiety in check, below is some advice for looking up your symptoms online.
Have someone do the searching for you.
Given the barrage of information freely available online, it is easier than ever to get stuck in a rabbit-hole of distressing diagnoses when researching symptoms. And sometimes, after reading about a particular condition, you might find yourself reevaluating how you feel in light of this new theory. Remove the temptation by asking someone to do the research for you based on the symptoms you’ve already discussed.
In many ways, the internet is like the wild, wild west. There are no checks and balances, and anyone can post any claim they want. To find the most reliable information provided by those with education and experience in specialized care, check an article's sources. Web addresses ending in .gov and .org tend to be more trustworthy, as are articles written by medical professionals.
Remember that an internet search is not a substitute for a medical degree. The odds are extremely low that you have the worst-case scenario diagnosis—and stress is often responsible for making health conditions worse. Furthermore, any medical issue that is causing you enough concern to conduct your own internet research is serious enough to warrant specialized care and attention from a doctor. Instead of hitting that search button yet again, make an appointment.
Self-diagnose or self-prescribe.
If a person doesn't know with certainty what their condition is, they don't know with certainty what the proper treatment should be. Only a doctor can give you a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan. Don't start following home remedies or buying products online to treat an issue until a doctor has given an unambiguous diagnosis and prescribed a course of action.
If you are experiencing troubling symptoms of any kind, make an appointment with a doctor. The physicians at Santiam Hospital offer preventative and specialized care to patients throughout the Mid-Willamette Valley. Since 1953, they have been a trusted provider of primary, orthopedic, and emergency room care, as well as many other areas of treatment. Call (503) 769-2175 or visit them online to make an appointment.