Why Your Internet Diagnosis May Do More Harm Than Good

Search online for common symptoms like “headache,” “fever” or “body aches,” and suddenly you may find yourself disinfecting the whole house and considering a self-imposed quarantine, “just in case.” If that sounds like you, put on the brakes. No need to scare yourself into a disease that you don’t have!

We know you’ve probably read through helpful forums found on Google and WebMD or reached out to friends on Facebook and Twitter to see if your weird headache or strange pain is something to worry about. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 23% of people have followed or heard about a friend’s health experience through social networks and 34% have read blogs, e-newsletters or forums posted online.

In fact, the study found that 80 percent of people have searched online for information about a health issue …

  • One in three Americans went online to diagnose a medical condition.
  • Of the information found online, 46% of people followed up that tip from Dr. Google with a trip to the doctor.
  • Only 41% of people found that their doctor confirmed the Internet diagnosis.

While you may think your symptoms are scary enough on their own, opening yourself up to an Internet full of hypochondriacs, know-it-alls and people with “one secret your doctor doesn’t want you to know” can also be harmful in the long run.

Since most people are looking online for health answers for themselves or close family members, it’s easy to get emotional and start thinking worst-case scenario. Panicking over a self-diagnosis can harm your emotional well-being, when a doctor could easily answer the questions you have. Similarly, if you actually have a serious condition and brush it off as nothing, you could be causing further damage or making yourself worse. Your best bet? If you’re not feeling well, step away from the Internet and into your friendly neighborhood Doctors Express, instead.

Medical professionals are the best people to give you an accurate answer about what that strange rash or odd pain really is. Doctors are able to listen to patient symptoms and ask important follow-up questions in order to form a diagnosis. On top of that, a hands-on exam allows doctors to see the problem up close and recognize things you may not know are relevant. Diagnostic tools like lab tests and imaging devices help paint a clearer picture of what is truly going on in your body.

At Doctors Express, our approach is designed to help you with your health care needs, so there’s no need to scare yourself into an incorrect diagnosis! Let us diagnose you, answer your questions and put your fears to rest with an easy appointment – lab services included!


What’s the craziest health “tip” you’ve come across online?