HEALTH NEWS

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents -

Symp­tom-checker web­sites and apps are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, but a re­cent study from Har­vard Med­i­cal School proved that real doc­tors di­ag­nose cor­rectly more than twice as of­ten as apps. Mis­di­ag­nos­ing your­self on­line can cause un­nec­es­sary worry and anxiety, so you need to be wary. Here’s how to use Doc­tor Google wisely:

◆ A dig­i­tal di­ag­no­sis is likely to of­fer a range of op­tions, from de­hy­dra­tion up to a brain tu­mour, so try not to fret about the most ex­treme pos­si­bil­ity. Put your wor­ries aside un­til you’ve seen your GP.

◆ Symp­tom-check­ers can be help­ful, and you can share the in­for­ma­tion with your GP, but re­mem­ber that the sub­tleties a doc­tor de­tects about your con­di­tion can lead to an en­tirely dif­fer­ent di­ag­no­sis than you ex­pect, so be open to what they have to say.

◆ Don’t be tempted to click on links mak­ing dra­matic claims or pro­mot­ing prod­ucts, and don’t as­sume that just be­cause a web­site comes up first, it’s the best.

◆ Save your­self a phone call or visit to your GP – the in­ter­net can be handy for some med­i­cal sit­u­a­tions, such as telling you the stan­dard dose of a painkiller or how to treat ver­ru­cas.

◆ Stick to rep­utable web­sites that are fact checked, such as nhs.uk or pa­tient.info.

On­line di­ag­no­sis is no match for expert ad­vice

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