Should You Google Your Symptoms? A Doctor Answers

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Playing How To Google Your Symptoms The Right Way | Dr. Lisa Sanders
How To Google Your Symptoms The Right Way | Dr. Lisa Sanders Aired October 17, 2019

If you say you've never Googled your symptoms and self-diagnosed, you're probably fibbing. C'mon, we all do it!

But do doctors recommend it? Here's what the "Sherlock Holmes" of the medical field, the woman who inspired the hit TV series "House" and the author of DiagnosisDr. Lisa Sanders has to say. 

"It's not like Google is different from what we used to do. We used to ask our mom, our dad, our spouses, our co-workers. And now we just add Google to that whole bunch of people that we're asking," she tells us. "Here's the difference, though — when you ask your mom and your aunt and your friend, you know how reliable these people are because you know them. But with Google, it's really hard to know who you're talking to. It's really hard to know who's giving you that answer." 

So here are Dr. Lisa's two suggestions:

1. "Go to a place that you know is reliable. My two favorite places that I send my patients to are the things that end with .gov. The NIH has a great resource for patients [and] the CDC." 

2. "The more specific you can make [your search], the better it's going to be," Dr. Lisa stresses. "If you have a headache and you put in 'headache,' you're going to get a million answers. Some of them will be good and some of them won't be good, but you won't know. If you have a headache and it's only on the left and it's throbbing and it changes the way you see things, put that in. That's going to give you a much better answer."

Remember, the internet is not a substitute for your doctor. Always communicate with your doctor when you're not feeling well. 

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