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Ask Dr. Nandi: Should you diagnose yourself online? Here's what doctors think

Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 08:33:08-04

When you’re sick do you head to the doctor’s office or do you prefer to diagnose yourself online?   

Asking the internet for medical advice or using symptom checkers has certainly become popular but are there hazards you should be concerned about?

We’re living in a technology world, so it’s not surprising that many people go online to find answers for their health concerns.   

The downside is, you can get the living daylights scared out of you.

Harvard Medical School actually tested 23 different online symptom checkers from around the world. They found only about half of the time the diagnosis was correct. 

So these digital diagnosers can lead you astray - you might believe all is well when it’s not, or lead you to believe you have cancer or possibly some other serious illness. 

 So it’s really important that you see your doctor for medical advice.

I believe everyone should advocate for their health. Doing research before seeing your physician can make for a more efficient conversation.  

Just be cautious and don’t self-diagnose.  

When you see a physician, they’ll ask questions, perform exams, maybe do some tests and then come to a diagnosis based on all of these factors.  

So when you’re looking for credible information online, please don’t judge sites based on stranger’s testimonials. Instead I want you to look for licensed physicians who base their advice on scientific studies.

Great sites you can use are WebMD and familydoctor.org.  But everyone needs to understand the internet is not a replacement for medical advice that you get directly from your doctor.