Postdate: 29 January 2018
Is doctor Google your best friend when you are experiencing complaints? You are not the only one. The Doctors vs Internet program is a form of competition to see who is best at making a diagnosis based on complaints. When is it smart and when is it better to avoid it? Tsuru expert and general practitioner Dr Chantalle Burgers gives some tips.
Doctor Google creates madness
The internet is a source of information, both good and bad. So, everything depends on the search for the right sources. If you have some vague symptoms and you are urgently looking for an explanation, then chances are that you will believe what you read and see: including Google ads for medical products. You are looking for reassurance, but instead you will find the opposite. You read forums where people bombard each other with nasty photos and 'fabricated’ diagnoses. As a result, you believe that you have something seriously wrong with you. The effect? You become anxious and stressed, and stress leads to more nasty complaints; and so, the vicious circle is complete.
Focused and careful searches
The Doctors vs Internet program shows that a self-diagnosis and a diagnosis made by a general practitioner can be quite similar, but that there should always be qualification. A self-diagnosis is unwise if you always assume the worst, but also when you read the wrong solutions and therefore think that things are not all bad. How can you be good at being a ‘home-doctor’? A few good resources are important. They also allow you to determine whether or not you should go to your family doctor straight away, or if you can see how things go for a few more days. For example, Thuisarts.nl is a Dutch website that provides sound information, maintained by general practitioners.
Good preparation is never wasted. The most important thing is that you do not keep searching endlessly. In some cases, it is even better not to google at all and to make an appointment with your GP straight away, for example, when you have a persistent fever.
'Googling your symptoms when you don't feel well is the most efficient way to convince yourself you're dying'