Is the Internet Your New M.D.?
It’s no secret that the Internet holds a wealth of information. The problem is this: Not all of the information contained on the Internet is helpful nor is it all factual. While there is nothing altogether wrong with utilizing the web as a source of information, you have to take what you read with a grain of salt. Here’s how to use the Internet the right way when it comes to your health:
1.Looking Up Symptoms
If you are experiencing symptoms that are unfamiliar to you, there’s nothing wrong with looking up your symptoms online. You should know, however, that many symptoms can be attributed to a variety of illnesses. For instance, a headache may be a symptom of Multiple Sclerosis, but it’s also a symptom of the flu. A scratchy throat may mean that you have strep, but it could also mean that you have a cold; don’t scare yourself into believing that you have an incurable disease.
2.Finding Out How to Treat Common Ailments
The Internet can be a great source of information when it comes to learning how to treat common ailments or even treat a small wound. Do you feed a cold and starve the flu, or is it the other way around? Does chicken soup really cure all that ails you or is it an old wives tale? Should you use heat or ice on a sore back? These are all things that you can safely find on the Internet and just one of the things that makes the Internet hugely helpful. If, however, you decide to utilize the web to find out what to do if you think you’re having a heart attack, you’ve probably gone too far.
3.As a Starting Point
Researching the ‘net can give you an excellent starting point when it comes to creating a list of questions for your doctor. Eight in ten people use the Internet as their go-to source for medical information. This is before there’s even a thought of calling a physician. While you shouldn’t completely rely on the medical information that you gather, you can use that information to construct a list of questions that you want to ask your doctor. When you think of questions, make sure to write them down; your anxiety at the doctor’s office may cause you to forget what you wanted to say.
If you are coping with a tragedy, an illness or traumatic injury, talking to others who have gone through the same thing can be a source of support. While you should freely share your experiences, be careful in how closely you compare yourself to others. Remember that each individual case is different and someone else’s outcome may not be the same as your own. You should also remember that what worked for one person may not work for you, but it could be a topic you want to broach with your doctor.
5.Learning About Medication
The Internet can be a reliable source of information when it comes to the medication that you’ve been prescribed. You can easily find information on the manufacturer’s websites about possible drug interactions and side effects. If you forgot to ask your doctor or pharmacist an important question, the Internet can be an invaluable source of information.
The Internet is a tool that needs to be used wisely. While you can safely find medical information on the web, you need to do so while maintaining a bit of skepticism. Though much of the information that you can find will be factual, just as much will be bogus. No matter what you research, make sure that you don’t use the Internet in the place of good, old-fashioned medical advice.
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