Personal health and wellness are some of the most important aspects of life. When there is a strange sensation in or on the body, concern and curiosity follow suit. Doctors say the general rule of thumb is not to self-diagnose by searching the internet for associated symptoms. However, research studies claim that Googling symptoms can help make an accurate diagnosis.

The report states that googling one’s symptoms improves the ability to diagnose an illness or occurrence without adding the stress and hassle of going to the doctor’s office. Although self-diagnosing from internet searches can still cause stress if a person thinks that their condition is worse than it is, researchers still conclude that browsing the web for symptoms can be accurate and has many advantages.

Searching the web for symptoms allows one to be more comfortable and candid in expressing symptoms. Perhaps the health problem they are having is something they are too embarrassed to tell a doctor or nurse right away. When you search for signs on your own, you can be as honest as possible in the privacy of your own home, which can be advantageous if you have extreme social anxiety or embarrassment.

Googling symptoms can be used as a supplemental tool for providing information to a doctor. The medical occurrence could be something rare that would not usually be on a doctor’s radar. Bringing up the possible internet search diagnosis to the medical professional’s attention can help both parties be aware of all the possibilities before making an official diagnosis.

Googling symptoms can save time and money for the patient. Most individuals have full-time jobs that they cannot just get up and go to the doctor for. When one needs medical advice for a minor medical occurrence, it is more time-efficient to do a quick search without driving to the doctor’s office. Also, not everyone has the financial ability to go to the doctor’s office every time they have a medical occurrence that they want to ask out. Many people do not have insurance, so they can only seek medical attention for emergencies only.

Some may say that using ‘Dr. Google’ can create an anxious habit of searching the internet for every occurrence. However, the same could be said for scheduling a doctor’s visit for every minor circumstance. Visiting a doctor’s office is much more expensive and time-consuming than a simple online search. Not to mention, visiting the doctor for a little concern takes away time from a patient who needs medical attention for a legitimate illness or condition. Googling symptoms is not the direct causation of health anxiety. Using ‘Dr. Google’ can be a factor of hypochondria, but it is ultimately up to the patient to decide what they will and will not stress about in life.

In my personal experience, googling symptoms led to the correct diagnoses for me. When I was in high school, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. What led to the doctor’s visit was my Mom expressing that she saw a “Dr. Oz” episode describing a specific thyroid disease. After further googling the physical symptoms, she concluded that the symptoms of the disease aligned with mine. The internet’s diagnosis aligned with what I was officially diagnosed with after medical professionals conducted blood work tests.

Googling symptoms should never be used in a life-threatening emergency. In emergency cases, the best thing to do is call 911.

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