The advent of technology is shaping the way people access information, particularly when it comes to identifying a particular medical condition. A simple Google search can lead you to different websites that offer a feature called ‘symptoms checker.’ This feature allows you to be familiar with a list of possible conditions that you may have. While it’s not 100% accurate, some people claim it to be a useful tool in ruling out certain conditions and illnesses.
In the past, patients would have to visit a physician whenever they need medical attention. Whether it’s for something as simple as a fever or as annoying as canker sores, you’d need a doctor to explain the disease and discuss possible medical treatments. Today, there are several ways to find out what your symptoms could mean.
Digital platforms have advanced in such a way that artificial intelligence is easily accessible when doing a self-diagnosis. People opt to self-diagnose, especially now that the COVID-19 virus is still widespread. Web-based symptom checkers help them in knowing when it’s time to seek medical assistance or if what they’re feeling will eventually go away on its own.
How To Self-Diagnose More Accurately
One reason why patients prefer to self-diagnose isn’t that they don’t trust their doctors. Some people like to understand their condition better so that they can work with their doctor more proactively in finding answers for their medical problems.
Here are some tips that you can try to self-diagnose more accurately:
- List Down All Your Symptoms
When doing a self-diagnosis, it’s important to know and input all the symptoms you’re experiencing. A symptom can mean a lot of things, and it’ll be impossible to come up with a potential diagnosis if you can’t be accurate with all your symptoms. Don’t forget anything, may it be as simple as a runny nose or dry cough. Everything must be accounted for to rule out other possible medical conditions.
- Look For A Reliable Website
You can end up with countless results when you try searching on Google for the meaning of all the symptoms you have. You need to be sensible enough to know when a website is reliable. Aside from web-based symptom checkers, you can also look for digital medical tools that offer informational content about a variety of medical conditions. It helps to know more about what your potential condition may be, as well as finding out possible treatments and medical approaches that you can try.
- Know The Difference Between A Good Research From A Bad One
Self-diagnosing using the internet involves a lot of research. Even when you think you already have good researching skills, it can still be challenging to distinguish between good research and a bad one. You may not have any background in medical research, but as you try to self-diagnose, you should try to tell the difference between the two.
Anchor your assumptions to medical citations that are published in authoritative sites or journals. It’ll take several resources, lots of searches, and going from one website to another—and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. There are medical sources that are more viable than the others. If there are already a few diagnoses you’re leaning towards, find leads by looking at medical or scientific information from verified organizations. That way, you’ll have supporting information to back up your self-diagnosis.
- Know When To Seek Professional Medical Advice
If you already have a list of medical conditions that you may have, don’t stop there. Know when to seek medical advice from a doctor. Remember that self-diagnosis tools are only there to guide you and it’s still up to you to know when a condition warrants immediate medical attention. For example, chest pains could indicate muscle strain but it may also be due to something as serious as a heart condition. It’s strongly advised that you seek urgent medical attention to accurately find out what’s causing the pain in your chest.
- Avoid Self-Medication
It can be tempting to take a pain reliever when the symptom checker indicates you could be having the simple stomach flu. However, you have to take extra precautions especially when you’re experiencing other symptoms besides stomach pain. A pain reliever may alleviate the pain but if you have a more serious condition, any medication can potentially worsen the condition if taken without medical advice.
- Join A Community Focusing On The Same Interest
Patient communities are increasing on different platforms. It could be a blog site, a discussion thread, or a social media group made up of people on the same journey as you. You’ll find it easier to relate to people who have the same symptoms as you and benefit from the social support that you might not otherwise have access to.
If you want to find communities like this, you can search on Facebook or Twitter using specific hashtags that contain your symptoms or suspected conditions.
Self-Diagnosis Can Help But Only To An Extent
Self-diagnosing with the help of technology may benefit people who are looking for answers for any symptoms they’re experiencing. However, you should not be contented with what you already have and, instead, use the information to better assess your condition. For instance, if you think you have COVID-19 after experiencing some of the symptoms, it’s best to consult with a doctor immediately to make sure you’re not in any danger.
You may not get the most accurate result when self-diagnosing but it’ll help point you in the right direction. It can help you know the seriousness of your condition and can also relieve your mind of the anxiety when you find out there’s nothing to worry about. Still, you need to keep in mind that symptom checkers are only a guide and not a replacement for medical doctors.
Technology should be utilized to its full potential, which is why self-diagnosis can be helpful. However, you also need to remember that doctors are more knowledgeable and they can better help you in evaluating your medical concerns. Online medical information can potentially lead to better care but only if you use it to alongside your physician’s counsel.