Posted by: lindseychristine | November 3, 2009

Dr. Internet at Your Service!

webmdThe rising popularity of health related websites which feature symptoms and treatment information like Web MD and Discovery Health, have led to a surge in many self-diagnosing illnesses, injuries, aches, and pains. We have not only come to depend on the Internet for activities such as checking our email or Facebook, but also as our own personal medical resource to determine our sicknesses. With an enormous amount of detailed medical information accessible on the web within seconds, utilizing such sites has become a helpful craze for millions of Americans, according to a Fast Company article in September.

A UPenn student summed up a perfect example of how a college student could take full advantage of the medical website phenomenon in an October article from the The Daily Pennsylvanian, “Last week, my friend told me she’d had an allergic reaction to a spider bite, and mentioned she was eventually going to go to Student Health Service about it. She had searched her symptoms and diagnosed herself using WebMD, and the doctor’s office was just a bonus.”

imagesAlthough a visit to see a medical doctor does not exactly compare to self-diagnosing yourself, such medical resources come in handy for those who may not be able to afford the high costs of medical visits, especially for the thousands who are uninsured, or co-pays. In Connecticut alone, approximately 209,027 working individuals were reported uninsured in 2006-2007, according to a report on Cover the Uninsured from the Census Bureau.

Often times individuals are unsatisfied with visiting their physician since it often seems impersonal, rushed, and inconvenient to wait long periods of time in busy, germ-infested waiting rooms. Medical websites such as WebMD provide detailed illness information in an easy to understand language on categories such as:
~An overview and facts
~Diagnosis and tests
~Treatment and care
~Home remedies
~Resources to find help

Those who take advantage of visiting “Dr. Internet” to help diagnose and cure themselves from illnesses must keep in mind that like anything on the Internet, medical information may be inaccurate or misleading. The Early Show Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, provides further explanation about being cautious when trying to “Webnosis” yourself…

Health websites to help us self-diagnose our illnesses should be utilized as a stepping stone since they can be valuable in offering us a greater understanding of whether or not we may suffer from a physical or mental illness. When it comes to our health and well being one should not limit themselves from the big picture, an overall, thorough health examination by a qualified health professional to diagnose symptoms and advise treatment.

Have you come to rely on health information websites for self-diagnosis?



  1. An overall comment on your blog! Looks very nice. Well written and should be incorporated into your overall career portfolio!
    I think I mentioned it before, but you can adjust the size of your YouTube video so it fits better in your new layout.

  2. The internet also reveals alternative treatment options … physicians are often very quick to prescribe pharmaceuticals. we are an over-medicated society.

  3. One time my mom diagnosed herself with H Pylori. Thank you WebMD!

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