Picture yourself sitting at home when suddenly your stomach starts aching, your heart rate rises, or you start feeling feverish. It’s so easy to reach for your phone or laptop to quickly Google what might be wrong with you.
The search results could offer some correct answers about your symptoms—or they might mistakenly imply that you’re headed to an early grave. It’s never wise to rely on self-diagnosis for something as paramount as your health, especially if “Dr. Google” is your only source of information.
From the pitfalls of online medical searches to the importance of consulting with trained professionals, MD Now is here to explain the risks of self-diagnosis and help you make informed decisions about your medical care.
Risks of Self-Diagnosis
The internet has changed everything. People used to get the bulk of their health information from their medical providers, but now anyone can access endless data with a click of the mouse or a tap on their phone. And they do it often—over 80% of American adults have searched the internet for answers to their health-related questions.
Whether you’re convinced you’re dying or certain that your symptoms are nothing, you can probably find a website that agrees with you. Some of the information found online IS credible. But even when a website is accurate, it’s easy for someone without medical training to misinterpret it or use it incorrectly.
Diagnosing yourself based on an internet search can be hazardous to your health in many ways, including:
- Needless scares – How many times has Google diagnosed you with cancer? Minor symptoms and injuries can quickly morph into something deadly, depending on what you read. You don’t have to put yourself through all the stress of what-ifs and worst-case scenarios—visit the physician-led team of healthcare professionals at MD Now for a fast and accurate diagnosis.
- Unnecessary tests – You may get overly worried and insist on tests that are unnecessary, costing you time and money. MD Now will conduct a thorough examination to identify any lab tests and screenings you need.
- Dangerous treatments – Treating yourself the wrong way or for the wrong condition can lead to dangerous drug interactions, side effects, or overdose. At MD Now, we ask about your medical history and current medications to ensure that your treatment is safe and effective.
- Delayed treatments – Delaying treatment can make your condition worse, or in some cases be fatal. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to know for certain so you can take the necessary steps. MD Now’s state-of-the-art urgent care clinics handle a wide range of illnesses and injuries, physical examinations, and more.
No one knows you better than yourself, but sometimes you need a mirror to see yourself more clearly. Your doctor is that mirror.
Impact on Your Mental Health
Although we touched on it briefly above, the psychological toll of self-diagnosis—particularly the wrong diagnosis—deserves a closer look. Worrying about a health condition that you don’t actually have can be incredibly distressing for you and your loved ones. Self-diagnosing can also exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety and increase your risk of dangerous behaviors, including alcohol abuse or suicide.
You may be afraid of hearing bad news from the doctor, so you avoid getting the medical care you need. Or you attempt to treat a condition you may not have, which can make your situation worse.
You may even develop negative or harmful symptoms simply because you believe or expect they will occur. The mind-body connection is that powerful—yet another reason to seek a professional diagnosis.
Benefits of Professional Diagnosis
Accurate information and timely care are two of the greatest benefits that trained healthcare professionals offer. Getting an official diagnosis is the first step in properly healing from any illness, injury, or medical condition. Not all conditions are diagnosed by their symptoms alone, and they can worsen with time when left untreated.
MD Now helps patients like you prioritize their well-being over the dangers of self-diagnosis and get the care they need. No appointment is necessary—just walk in.
Use Online Health Information Responsibly
The next time you have a health-related question and reach for your phone or laptop, we encourage you to view the information you find as a helpful guide—not as a tool for diagnosis.
For example, you can use it to better understand a professional diagnosis, learn about potential treatments to discuss with your provider, and find other people with the same condition. But it shouldn’t replace a visit to the doctor.
During your search, try to focus on websites from government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reputable medical centers, universities, and other professional organizations. On large health-related sites, be sure to look for HON Code certification (an indicator of reliability of health information), dates, references, and more.
Again, any online resources you find should be a complement to—and not a replacement for—professional advice.
Visit MD Now Today for Answers
Say no to self-diagnosis and turn to MD Now instead. With 110 + locations across Florida, MD Now makes getting high-quality healthcare easy and convenient. You can walk in or use online Web Check-In®—just tell us when you want to come in, and you’ll receive a text message when it’s time for your visit.
About MD Now® Urgent Care
MD Now urgent care is Florida’s largest urgent care operator with more than 110 state-of-the-art clinics conveniently located across Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, and Seminole Counties. MD Now urgent care’s physician-led team of healthcare professionals provides high-quality healthcare through a comprehensive lineup of urgent care and occupational health services during convenient hours. MD Now urgent care is proud to be affiliated with HCA Florida Healthcare. For more information, visit www.MDNOW.com.