The internet is a wonderful invention, but when it comes to your medical needs, you do need to be careful. Many of us Google our ailments, be they headaches, rashes, or peculiar blemishes on our skin. While there may be something genuinely wrong, there are also times when we can make ourselves feel worse by reading the worst-case scenarios. Sometimes a headache is just a headache, and not a symptom of a brain injury, but that doesn’t stop us from panicking.
The following are reasons why you need to be careful with your internet searches.
It can lead to the wrong diagnosis
Self-diagnosing your own illness or ailments can lead you to bad decisions. For starters, you are spending too much time on the internet, rather than getting the medical help you might actually need. Secondly, you may misdiagnose your illness, and follow advice that will harm your health rather than ‘cure’ you.
You can’t always trust the advice you find
While there are genuinely good websites, such as XpertDox who will point you in the right direction for your medical needs, there are other sites that hold no expert opinion at all. They may give you misleading information, recommend untested treatments, and cause you to panic when there is no need for alarm. Considering the thousands of websites, including blogs and forums that populate the internet, you will never know how effective their advice is unless the site offers evidence of their credentials.
The popular websites are not always the better ones
An easy mistake people make is assuming the better websites are at the top of the Google search page. This isn’t true. Google uses SEO, where bloggers and website owners use keywording to elevate their site to the top of the search engine rankings. It may be that the more educated and responsible websites are then pushed lower down the rankings. If you do use Google, be more specific with your searches, enabling you to find sources of information that are hopefully more authoritative than the more ‘popular’ sites.
You rely less on your gut instincts
Sometimes, we know when we are ill. Your gut instinct will tell you what is probably wrong, and you should then make that call to your doctor. However, if you insist on a quick Google search first, you may find information that goes against your best instincts. A website article may tell you there is nothing to worry about, so you decide to put off that call to the doctor as you assume everything is okay. This could have dire consequences, as you may be in urgent need of help.
It’s a substitute for embarrassing problems
Many of us are worried about going to our doctors because of potentially embarrassing problems. In this regard, Google is ‘great,’ as we don’t have to suffer the embarrassment by talking to somebody face-to-face about them. However, this is a dangerous practice. For example, you may not want to show your doctor a lump on your genital area, but a closer examination will often be needed. You may have a serious condition that needs immediate treatment, so don’t let your embarrassment put you off. Besides, your doctor is a skilled professional, and there should be nothing that they haven’t already seen countless times before.
We aren’t telling you not to use Google. There are plenty of websites that offer excellent advice, and you may find information that may just save your life. However, the internet isn’t a substitute for a real doctor, so ALWAYS seek help from a professional, instead of relying on advice that may not always be accurate, or specific to your particular health needs.