When we have a niggle or pain anywhere in our bodies, we’re all guilty of turning to Doctor Google before an actual doctor. But does this help or hinder us? The reality is that we are being asked more and more to see our general practice doctors before rocking up to the hospital as an emergency, as a lot of cases are something that can be dealt with easily by a GP rather than an emergency room doctor. And there are many illnesses, aches and pains that are pretty self-explanatory that can be treated easily at home.

Self-diagnosing can come with the issue of thinking you have something more serious than you actually do. There are many cases of people running to the hospital with a fatal illness that turns out to be a chest cold or sprained wrist. And many people take the internet advice of taking antibiotics for things that really don’t need to be treated with it. The more you take antibiotics, the less they work for you in the future, as your body builds up an immunity to it. So, unless it’s prescribed by a doctor – steer clear.

Some people are put off from going to see their GP because in surgeries without a good practice management system the waiting times can be ridiculous, and so the opposite can happen where you under-diagnose yourself. Pneumonia becomes the flu, or a broken toe is just badly bruised.

There isn’t anything that can compete with the diagnosis of a medically trained professional, but if you already know what is wrong with you, then there is no harm in using the internet to find ideas about how to get better.

You should always use trusted sites like Wise Owl Remedies so that you know you’re getting well-researched advice, rather than just someone’s opinion. There are some great home-treatments that you can do to help you heal; stretches, essential oils, food – all things that can be manipulated to help your body get better. A hot bath is universally known to help ease muscle pain and to ease the ache of a cold. Adding the right oil to your bath can help to clear your sinuses. Eating bananas is great for period pain and to help clear constipation.

There is also great advice on the internet that will help you to identify the symptoms of different illnesses.Anything from a potassium deficiency (which again can be helped with bananas) and for something as serious as a stroke. WebMD, another trusted site, uses the well-known acronym FAST to identify the quickly progressing symptoms of a stroke.

So, should you rely on the internet or a doctor? The answer is that you should get a confirmed diagnosis for an illness from a doctor, but the internet can be a great resource to identify serious illnesses and to give advice on how to cure smaller illnesses like a cold or a sprain. And if you can’t resist the urge to Google your symptoms, then take what the internet says with a pinch of salt – cross-examine what you read, and always use well-respected and trusted sites.

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