Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Moms with Adult Kids Moms with Adult Kids

Do You Google Your Symptoms?

Posted by on Aug. 29, 2014 at 1:54 PM
  • 11 Replies

'Googling Your Symptoms' Fails Like This Should Scare Moms Enough to Stop

by Kristen Chase 

googling health symptoms, woman on computer

As much as I love how the Internet has made it easier to find information, it's got a pretty heavy-duty downside, especially when you're dealing with a mysterious illness or, in my case, a blemish.

I admit that I'm one to Google health symptoms or ask my social media followers medical questions, only to discover that I've got either rheumatoid arthritis or a head cold.

But after what happened recently on my Facebook page, I will never ever EVER ask the Internet for health advice again.

I made the mistake of asking my Facebook friends what to do with this weird breakout on my face. I've had pretty clear skin my entire life, so I'm not skilled in dealing with pimples.

I figured someone would have some cream or spot treatment I didn't know about. Then I'd hop over to the drugstore and clear up my face in a matter of days, and all would be shiny and new again.

Cue angels singing.

Instead, I ended up with a bunch of comments ranging from helpful advice to suggestions that I had herpes. Or my favorite one, staph.

STAPH?! As in an infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria that usually manifests as just a minor skin problem -- but can turn deadly?!

Sure, I get that I didn't post a photo -- so people were making assumptions based on my terrible description of what turned out to be exactly what I thought it was: a zit and a little patch of eczema (in case you were wondering). But cripes! Talk about anxiety-provoking, especially for someone who's already a little anxious to begin with.

Also, why would anyone ever say something so serious like that publicly? If I were going to tell someone their condition sounded like it needed medical attention, I'd at least have the courtesy to send them a private message.

Look, on one hand, I love being able to type a few words into Google to get an instant answer about something, or ping a few of my online friends with questions about things like the coolest boots for fall. Or restaurant recommendations. 

Or really anything else that doesn't involve a health situ, after my experience with "minor skin rash turns into horrible deadly disease."

I know that it's super convenient to Google your health symptoms and get medical advice from friends on Facebook and Yahoo and all that. It's a great idea in theory to try to diagnose yourself, your kids, your husband, your parents, and anyone else you care about online. Not to mention the fact that it can save you a lot of time and money by avoiding all those doctor's visits and bills. I'm a busy mom and it's hard for me to rationalize why I should spend the time and cash going to the dermatologist for a pimple on my face.

But what if the Internet is wrong?

Then yeah. That really saves you nothing -- not to mention the fact that it can be dangerous to your health. Never mind the potential it has for giving you a panic (or heart) attack in the process.

So my new rule: If it might require medicine, I'm giving up Drs. Google and Social Media and sticking to people who know what the heck they're talking about. Actual health professionals who went to school for these things and have real knowledge on how to treat them -- the right way.

Do you trust the Internet with health questions?


by on Aug. 29, 2014 at 1:54 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
.Holly.
by Gold Member on Aug. 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM
A big NO!
LEK19
by Platinum Member on Aug. 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

I would never ask for medical advice through the internet.

I have gone to reputable sites for information but almost always save my questions for my doctor or people I know and trust.

suzeebloch
by Ronna on Aug. 29, 2014 at 3:15 PM

I end up Googling medical stuff all day long - well, more so for the correct SPELLING of a term!  As a medical transcriptionist, even going on 20 years now, there are just times I want to verify the spelling of a term.  I certainly know how to spell a LOT of terms correctly but I don't necessarily KNOW what they are!  So yeah, I end up reading all about stuff.  lol.

Bleacheddecay
by Gold Member on Aug. 29, 2014 at 5:06 PM

I do google symptoms but I'm very skeptical and logical so I rarely think it's the worst case scenario.

DesignGirl450
by Lynda on Aug. 29, 2014 at 6:18 PM

I have to admit that I do.  And me in Canada with our inexpensive health care too!  In the Spring, as I had posted before, I had some changes in bowel habits/stool, and started Googling my symptoms.  Of course colon cancer always comes up, and I am thinking, well I am over 60, maybe my time has come.  I was so convinced that I paid privately instead of waiting five months for a colonoscopy, even though the other testing was negative for any sinister findings.  When I told my doctor, she said to stop looking on the internet, as i had enough information.  From what I understand, some people find out about some problem they have that their doctor didn't tell them about when describiing the symptoms, so I guess it can be helpful some times.  I was so happy that I had no polyps in my colon, cancerous, or non, and will be more cautious about internet findings in the future.  Even on valid medical sites. 

gonecrazi
by Silver Member on Aug. 29, 2014 at 6:31 PM

 I do use WebMD sometimes.

Maddie24
by Gold Member on Aug. 29, 2014 at 8:14 PM

 I have to admit - the internet has been very helpful to me.  I do not use it for diagnosis but for information.  When my father was diagnosed with cancer, I researched symptoms, studies, treatments, even doctor's educational institutions and experience.  The information allowed me to know what to expect and to know what questions to ask.  Unfortunately, I had to follow the same path when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer two years later.  The information was invaluable, but I used it for education, not to make the diagnosis and not to forecast the outcome.  In fact, some of the information was unnecessarily alarming, but the doctor was able to clarify.  So, I am thankful for the information that is available, but it certainly cannot replace a doctor.

louannwilkins
by Louann on Aug. 29, 2014 at 8:55 PM

this  :)

Quoting LEK19:

I would never ask for medical advice through the internet.

I have gone to reputable sites for information but almost always save my questions for my doctor or people I know and trust.


kellly
by Member on Aug. 29, 2014 at 8:56 PM

LOl, all the time.

suesues
by Silver Member on Aug. 30, 2014 at 7:37 AM

yes web md so i know what to ask dr, you need to be educated when going to dr they miss stuff too

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN