With so much health and medical information available to us today, it’s difficult to know what information to trust when doing online searches for medical advice. Fortunately, there are a few guidelines you can follow you help make sure you are getting the best information and protecting your health.
These steps include using reputable sources, conducting accurate searches, and keeping in mind that only certified physicians can make an ultimate diagnosis about your health or medical needs.
Search for Medical Advice From Reputable Sources
Websites sponsored by the U.S., U.K., and various European governments, university medical research centers, and some not-for-profit health and medical organizations typically offer more reliable information. Though many non-profits and even for-profits have reputable information available online, the vetting process is often less stringent than for government or universities. To know whether the Health On the Net Foundation certifies a non-profit or for-profit’s published medical advice, look for the red and blue “HONcode” seal at the bottom of the webpage.
Some reputable sites you can begin a general search at include Medlineplus.gov, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and MayoClinic.com, produced by more than 3,300 doctors, scientists, and researchers from the Mayo Clinic. To speak with a doctor directly about your health concerns, there’s also a mobile application offered by Curely.co, which allows you to chat or email with board-certified physicians from anywhere in the world for an extremely low cost and without the need for health insurance. From within the app, you can even choose the doctor by specialty and language.
Use specific keywords
To shorten your search time, use specific keywords that accurately describe your symptoms, ailment, or medical condition. If you’re looking for a cold remedy, then be sure to include this in your search terms so that the results generated offer remedies and not descriptions of symptoms. However, if your condition is serious or has lasted for an extended period, then you should seek medical attention immediately from a qualified doctor either online or in-person who can then instruct you on how to get the proper treatment.
Don’t get overwhelmed by a negative online diagnosis
The research you conduct online for medical advice is purely preliminary. The Internet is a valuable tool that empowers us to have access to information at the touch of a button; however, this does not qualify us as certified physicians who can properly diagnose a medical condition or illness.
The second step should always be to take what you’ve learned and present all of your symptoms to a board-certified physician. Only a doctor who’s interacted with you and investigated your medical concerns can accurately prescribe treatment or medication. Also, unlike Dr. Google, a certified doctor can also prescribe tests that offer more conclusive evidence about what’s truly affecting your health.
Remember to always use online medical advice searches as educational resources and visit a certified doctor to recommend how you should move forward. Fortunately, the internet has made it possible to reach a licensed doctor online now as well.
Finally, always keep in mind that only certified physician can make an ultimate diagnosis about your health and medical concern.