Health,  Long Island

Why You Shouldn’t Google Your Symptoms

Scratchy throat, slight headache—wait, is it warm in here? Are they night sweats, or am I just sweating at night? *Pulls out phone, Google’s symptoms* Congratulations, you are now suffering from a rare form of terminal cancer. There have only been about three cases of this ever reported. Sorry to say this, but you have six months to live.

Sure, we’ve all done it. Racing to our phones and laptops in an effort to diagnose the problem. You Google that rash that popped up two days ago, search Google images for comparison, and lo and behold, the worst possible example of what you have (or most likely, don’t have ) comes across the screen, sending you into full-on panic mode. When Googling our symptoms we often tend to forget the most important thing: we’re not doctors. Google can be a wonderful tool for information on any given topic, but self-diagnosis isn’t one of them.  Only a doctor, not a list of websites selling advertising, will know best!

Why you shouldn’t Google your symptoms

When searching Google for common symptoms, we usually hone in on personal stories and accounts, because naturally we’d like to find sources with prior knowledge of what we are experiencing. We read about their struggle with the disease. We compare and contrast our own experiences. We want them to tell us that everything will be fine, because who really wants to go to the doctor? For most of us, a doctor’s visit can be extremely nerve-wracking. Being proactive about our health is imperative, as early detection can be a key step when there is a real problem, but this should be done by contacting a physician. Misdiagnosis, particularly when taking matters into our own hands is very common, as we are not trained to assess conditions, and although it can be a formidable tool, when it comes to getting to the root of health problems, Googling them is not an effective medium.

To Google your symptoms or not to Google your symptoms—that is the question. There is a wide array of information available on the web, but just like there is good information, there is also a load of terrible information. Considering a reputable source during self-diagnosis can help to quell some anxiety, but should never replace an MD visit. While it is very important to stay abreast of any adverse conditions you may be experiencing, seeking a physician is the best step to find the proper treatment. If you’re experiencing a symptom that’s new to you, and causing you anxiety, schedule an appointment at one of our convenient Long Island offices. With physicians in both Commack and Massapequa, your mental relief is only a short drive away!