You have that unusual numbness in your left arm, and you are panicking. What is the first thing that you do? Do you find yourself typing away on Google search box? If yes, then you too are among the many clients of “Doctor Google” around the world. Today Google holds the position of a know-it-all Guru with answers to almost everything under the sun. With smartphones in every hand, it is easier, quicker, and cheaper to check out your symptoms on a search engine than going through the hassles of booking an appointment with a doctor.
However, is it really all that rosy as it seems? With those Google searches and the resulting self-medication, do you really think it’s really safe? According to WHO, the rise in self-medication is a result of improvement in education, general knowledge and economic status of the people. Well, aren’t they all really good indicators of human development? Yes, but how far can it go? How far before it is unacceptable to rely on a search engine program to deliver you the explanations and medications for your symptoms?
There is really nothing wrong in checking out your symptoms on Google, but there must be a restriction on what you do next. You must know where this reliance on the “Google Doctor” must stop.
Internet is a huge cesspool of all kinds of information, which could be authentic and very often bogus. You might come across reliable websites with all the information you need about your condition, but chances are that you won’t confine your searches to these websites, and end up seeking more satisfying diagnosis and instant solutions on other untrustworthy websites, which can do you more harm than good. This is why it is important to go for a proper physical diagnosis by a licensed doctor.
The Google Effect – Curiosity and Anxiety
Most people type in their symptoms on Google just to relieve their curiosity and anxiety, but end up becoming more anxious. There are simple symptoms of a sinus infection that Google Doctor would declare as signs of brain tumour. Many young people rush to the hospital expecting to be diagnosed with a serious condition that they saw on Google. Most of the time it would be a case of simple cold or a body ache, and they end up wasting the valuable time of the practitioners.
Self-medication – Good and Bad
For those with limited means to consult a physician, and having conditions not serious enough like that of allergies or occasional headaches, self-medication can be beneficial as long as the symptoms are manageable by OTC drugs. However, the danger of self-medication is that you might end up underestimating the symptoms and try to manage a serious condition with OTC drugs without consulting a physician.
Unless if your symptoms are familiar and not debilitating, it is not wise to go for self-medication, as you are not qualified enough as a doctor to identify and understand the symptoms and their seriousness. It is prudent to consult a physician when you have a health condition rather than Googling your symptoms and deciding the best course of medication all by yourself.