Don’t be misled by Dr Google. Follow these practices

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Dr Google is playing a big role in people’s medical situations these days. Before they visit their doctor, they tend to Google their symptoms to start guessing what the problem is. Once they are back from the doctor, they are googling their diagnoses online. Its quite a prevalent practice now. It has few risks though. If you are indeed doing it, just check what you should or shouldn’t do when Googling your symptoms. The author has listed out a few pints which you could pay attention to. Team RetyrSmart

Don’t be misled by Dr Google. Follow these practices

Don’t search using diagnostic terms

When Googling your symptoms, it’s better to search using a basic keyword like “headache,” rather than adding diagnostic terms such as “headache and brain tumor.” This way, your search results will deliver a full range of possibilities instead of biasing your results, allowing you to filter out results that don’t apply to you and zero in on the ones that might

Don’t be too colloquial

Type in “abdominal pain” as opposed to “tummy ache” and you’re likelier to draw up medical sites and that’s what will provide the more useful information

Don’t be swayed by glitzy sites

You can’t judge a site by its appearance. A beautiful page layout and eye-catching videos and graphics are no indication that the information you’re about to read is accurate. When in doubt, read through the “About” page. (See below.)Be wary of links appearing at the very top and bottom of Google search results pages; these are sponsored listings and they’re labelled as such

Don’t second-guess your original symptom

If you’re experiencing a particular symptom and see that it’s often accompanied by other symptoms, don’t fall prey to the nocebo effect—the opposite of the placebo effect: You expect to feel worse, and then you do. What we read online may subconsciously leave a greater impression than we think

Don’t stop searching too soon

Your search for medical information shouldn’t end at just one link. Even if you find a site that seems to provide a reasonable explanation for your symptoms, it’s worth reading through several reputable sites to give you a balance of information

Don’t assume a journal article is right

A peer-reviewed academic paper can be a good primary source on a particular issue, but it’s findings may not necessarily be relevant to you or even relevant anymore. First, check out the year the article was published; if it was written ten years ago, it could be outdated information. Note the study sample size—if small, the findings may not be that relevant—and whether it was a long- or short-term study. Also take note if the research was performed on human subjects or animal subjects. Is it a large-scale, randomized, controlled study (the gold standard) or a review study that summarizes a lot of previous research? If the findings are “preliminary,” they might lead you down the wrong path

Don’t skip the “About Us” section

Some sites have an agenda, so make sure to read about who’s behind the advice you’re reading by clicking on “About Us.” If there isn’t any kind of page explaining who is credentialing the site’s information, that’s not a good sign. Take it a step further and Google the organization, to make sure it’s an unbiased source. Some sites may be completely funded by a drug company or an organization that profits from the sale of herbal remedies

Don’t hesitate to ask doctors to share their favourite health sites

Doctors know that many of their patients are Googling their diagnoses online, and some are calling their colleagues to assist in the process. So next time you’re at your doctor’s office for a check-up, ask him where he suggests patients search for medical information

Don’t let Dr Google have the final word

Never make any medical decisions solely based on what you’ve read on the Internet—and definitely not at a site that suggests you purchase something to feel better. Print out articles that you think are relevant—or even ones you’re just curious about—and discuss them with your doctor

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