Friday, July 10, 2015

Dr Google, Dr Oz, and other bad resources

I often tell people to step away from Dr Google. But sometimes he sucks you in and you can't help it. Then there is Dr Oz who will be happy to get you to buy green coffee beans or something that someone supposedly believes will cure cancer. Well maybe Dr Oz isn't that bad but I think he's smarmy (definition: excessively or unctuously flattering, ingratiating, servile, etc.)

Finally we have those online symptom checkers to help us figure out what's wrong with us instead of going to the doctor. But they are usually wrong as well.  I admit to using online symptom checkers to see if I can figure out what is wrong with me. But since I have so many other things wrong with me, I usually ignore them too.

Now new research shows how bad the symptom checkers can be. There are many good health websites, such as WebMD, maybe even your hospital. But the symptom checkers where they try to diagnose what you have when you select your symptoms, they are not so good. They aren't so great at figuring out what is wrong with you. And they don't always send you to the doctor when you should go and sometimes send you to the doctor unnecessarily. Use your common sense instead. Or if you aren't sure on your common sense, phone a friend.

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