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Use Internet Health Advice Wisely

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Elaina George, M.D., Peachtree Ear, Nose and Throat Center
 
Some of the most popular online websites today are medical related.  A recent PEW study showed that 72% of adults go online to find health information.  That includes searching health websites to learn about disease, get self-help, buy prescription medications, and even obtain online medical consultations.
 
As a doctor, I’m glad consumers are interested in their health.  But there was one statistic that did concern me - 1 in 3 people go online to figure out their own medical conditions.  The study referred to them as “online diagnosers”.  That’s a problem and it’s where I encourage caution.




We have a “do- it-yourself” society where there’s the temptation to self-diagnose and treat. I’m not recommending that you stop using the Internet for health information, but here’s what I tell my patients: #1. Use reputable websites and #2. Use the information as a resource.


 

Some reputable sites include:

  1. The American Board of Medical Specialties - This site gives you information on board certified physicians in various medical specialties and can help you find a qualified doctor.
  2. WebMD – One of the most well-known and frequently searched health information websites.  It’s patient-centered and has easy to understand information on virtually every topic from diseases to medications and medical news.
  3. Mayo Clinic.com – Another reliable site for general health and disease information

 If you’re among the majority who use the Internet for health information, use it to your advantage.  The information can be a great tool to learn about your health.  But, be cautious about self-diagnosing.  Instead, use the information to help prepare for the visit with your doctor.  Write down your questions and concerns and take them with you.  This can actually enhance and improve your care. 
 
See more about Dr. Elaina George at: Peachtree Ear, Nose and Throat Center