As we become more and more tied to our electronics, seeking advice and information online is becoming second nature. Most of us also find ourselves in what I call the “surprise symptoms” stage of our lives. You go to bed feeling perfectly fine and awake with some unexplained knee ache or sharp pain in your shoulder blades. After reviewing your actions from the previous day and deciding that you did not “do” anything to cause this, what do you do?…you turn to the internet for possible answers.
I recently returned from a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where I met with just a few of the thousands of healthcare professionals who excel at that fine establishment. One of my last visits was with a couple of managers in their extensive patient education department. Of course, the space for this education is beautifully done, with many interactive body parts to explore and walls lined with resources. I did learn about the key online resources they recommend to patients. So, if you must cyber-diagnose, you might start here: www.mayoclinic.org, www.kidshealth.org , www.pubmed.gov (the National Library of Medicine of the National Institute of Health), and www.medlineplus.gov (also a service of the National Library of Medicine & NIH).
If you take your health seriously, you will see your doctor regularly, and not succumb to cyberchondria. Being informed is one thing, obsessing over misleading information is something none of us have time for.