Stop DR Google aims to convince YOU that Googling a health symptom is dangerous and to stop! BUT, we know it is impossible to make ALL OF YOU walk away from the keyboard. The least we can do is give you tips on how to find trustworthy health information online and make safe choices.
Tip 1. Research the website not just your symptom!
Look into the site you are reading, don’t just select the first website that Google suggests. Ensure the information was written by a reputable health organisation – read the ‘about us’ section to validate it is a trustworthy site. Charities and associations that are dedicated to a specific health condition are a good source of information, for example, Endometriosisaustralia.org or diabetesaustralia.com.au.
Tip 2. Be specific with your choice of Google words
Googling specific health symptoms will be more likely to generate accurate results. Vague searches will often be a symptom for a terrible illness; for instance, a bad headache is a symptom of brain cancer. But the chance of having brain cancer is extremely low compared to other headache related conditions. Don’t wander around sites just because you are curious, only read articles specific to your symptoms only.
Tip 3. Consistency
Don’t just read one site, read a few that back up your findings. This will improve the accuracy, relevance and validation to your self-diagnosis. Look for facts and figures; steer clear of opinion pieces, exaggerations and hyperboles.Tip 4. Don’t Panic
Even if you follow the above steps and a terrible diagnosis shows up, do not panic! You must remember a rare disease is RARE and will always require a professional diagnosis for confirmation.
Tip 5. Accept that your self-diagnosis can be wrong
Visit a doctor! Accept that he/she may tell you it isn’t a rare disease and Google was in fact, incorrect.
Don’t let the web, get to your head!
Stop Dr Google.