7 reasons that you should never Google your symptoms online 3 years ago

7 reasons that you should never Google your symptoms online

Brought to you by Irish Life Health.

Step away from the keyboard.

How many times have you been sick and decided to Google your symptoms online? After all, nobody actually really enjoys going to a doctor. Cyberchondria is becoming a growing problem as bored patients take a break from blowing their noses to find out what Dr. Google has to say.

Sure, it’s cheaper than going to the doctor but it’s not what you’d call an exact science. Or a science, for that matter. You might possibly find out what’s wrong with you but there’s more chance of the internet telling you that you’ve a rare and incurable disease.

Irish Life Health have removed the need to turn to Google by giving their customers unlimited video consultations with a real GP via Digital Doctor. The service is included in all their plans at no extra cost, plus it’s a 24-hour service.

This is an actual qualified GP that you’ll be speaking to, which is obviously a big improvement on the chat bots or armchair experts that you typically find online. Here are a few reasons why you should really avoid turning to the internet for medical advice.

1. The web is a hypochondriac’s nightmare

Do you imagine that every sniffle is a sign that you're getting pneumonia? Then you really shouldn’t look up stuff on the web. A symptom checker would have you thinking that a simple headache is being caused by hypoparathyroidism, mumps or a brain tumour. We don’t even know what hypoparathyroidism is but it sounds bloody terrifying.

2. You don’t know how reliable a site is

The quality and reliability of websites can vary greatly. A symptom checker might look very high tech and professional but it may be the symptom checker equivalent of Bing. Would you trust Bing to tell you what was wrong with you?

3. You could freak yourself out

The internet is a wealth of contradictions wrapped in an argument and garnished with conflicting opinions. Basically, there’s a lot of stuff out there and it’s hard to know what’s right and wrong. If you are feeling sick, it’s easy to find yourself disappearing down a rabbit hole of exaggerations, unqualified opinions and alarmist advice on forums.

4. You could misdiagnose yourself

Google your symptoms

You’ve entered your symptoms into a couple of different symptom checkers and got the same results. You read up on the disease and convince yourself that this must be what you have. Before you know it, you’re telling all your friends and family that you’ve got a weak kidney on the basis of nothing more than a five-minute web search.

5. You could delay getting real help

Symptoms tend to reflect that fact that something is wrong. Assuming that you know what’s wrong with you can delay a much-needed trip to the doctor. Sometimes, a short delay in seeking professional help could end up having some pretty dire consequences.

6. There’s some dangerous advice out there

Google your symptoms

There are some sites out there offering dangerous advice to vulnerable people. Now they may believe that taking some herbal tea will cure severe diseases but they clearly know nothing about medicine. The people behind these sites may not be malicious but they can certainly be dangerous if you follow their advice.

7. Doctors spend years in college for a reason

Google your symptoms

Do you know any doctors? Do you know how long they went to college for? They weren’t there for the parties or the student discounts in shops. Medicine is tricky! It’s all about assessing a patient and knowing what possibilities to consider and which ones to discount. Yet people still insist on taking a medical diagnosis from a glorified personality quiz.

The great thing about Irish Life Health's Digital Doctor is that you're actually chatting to a real GP, who you can access from home, from work or even when you're abroad. It's available to all new and renewing Irish Life Health members so you'll never have to place your faith in Dr. Google again!

Irish Life Health dac is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Brought to you by Irish Life Health.