Medical Advice Online
There's a lot of medical information online, but I'm not sure what to trust. Where can I go to learn more about various drugs and medical conditions? I want information from real doctors, not some guy selling miracle cures.
"Doctor, My Eyes!"
One morning you may wake up with puffy, irritated eyes. Is it just a seasonal allergy, or something worse? Thanks to the Internet, we have the ability to find out the answer to many medical problems before we visit the doctor's office. Many medical research websites are available now to the public, sharing medical advice that will help you diagnose your every ailment.
Trustworthy Online Medical Websites
WebMD is one of the leading medical reference websites. The website contains thousands of articles on diseases and how to stay healthy. You can go through a mini-test to check out if that sore throat is really just a sore throat, or if it could be something worse. The test is divided for men and women, to give a more accurate diagnosis.
The Mayo Clinic website uses a similar symptom checker to help you diagnosis your medical problem, along with additional information about drugs and supplements. The website contains an "Ask the Specialist" section, where you can ask different doctors whether that mole on your arm is something serious and if it should be looked at by a doctor.
The CDC is globally recognized for efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. An agency of the US government, the Centers for Disease Control strives to apply research and findings to improve people’s daily lives and responds to health emergencies.
MedLine Plus is a service of the US National Library of Medicine, and will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.
HealthAtoZ.com is another website filled with medical suggestions, tips and advice. Use it as a resource to check on when you want a second source for your research.
The RX List website offers current prescription information, including a list of side effects for many drugs.
Why Finding Medical Advice Online Is Great
The websites with medical advice that you visit could give you valuable information and may help you decide what questions to ask when you visit your doctor. By researching the information, you can better describe your symptoms to your doctor. This may lead to an open conversation about the possibilities and optional treatment methods.
For example, many medical symptoms sound alike. By educating yourself before you go to the doctor, so you can discuss the best method for diagnosis. Mono and strep throat have similar symptoms; scratchy throat, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. It would be easier to check for strep throat, which only takes a throat culture by using a cotton swab, instead of checking for mono, which usually means drawing blood. Knowing this, you and your doctor could create a plan, opting for the least painful and less costly procedure first before taking the next step up.
What To Look For
Look for websites where registered doctors are the key source of information. Places like WebMD and HealthAtoZ have specific doctors who approve all of the content, assuring that you get the most accurate information.
While medical advice websites are helpful for finding answers, they do not replace a professional doctor's diagnosis. Do not begin your own medical treatment without talking to your doctor. Misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment could lead to serious problems. Use online medical advice websites as a resource, not as a replacement for professional medical advice.
Alternative MedicinesAfter diagnosing the problem, you may want to look at alternative, and sometimes healthier, ways of dealing with the illness. Alternative medical websites offer a way to help deal with pain and diseases without using traditional medications. You should talk with your doctor before trying alternative medical treatments, but in most cases, they can supplement what your doctor has already prescribed.
Alternative Medicine is one of the most thorough sites about alternative medicines. It includes articles from doctors and medical practitioners and some very creative alternatives to common medicines.
Dr. Joseph Mercola operates the Mercola.com website, and publishes a popular natural health newsletter, espousing the philosophy that the human body is designed to self-regulate and be healthy. Dr. Mercola cautions against the disease-focused mass media and powerful special interests that focus only on expensive drugs and surgery when dealing with health challenges.
If you need someone to talk to about your current medical problems, you may want to visit an online support group. Online support groups are there for you if you don't have time to visit a live group, or you just prefer to remain anonymous. You can exchange emails and posts about your questions, get answers, and provide support for others.
Open Directory provides a list of many health support groups that you can find on the Internet. The directory is extensive, with support groups for victims of diseases, recovering patients, and for families of those who are ill.
Online Drug StoresSome online pharmacies offer cheap drugs that you can get with or without a prescription, but you probably don't want to take the risk with these types of companies. These websites may promise a lot, but you often run the risk of running into overnight scams, where they will take your money and run. The problem with that is, depending on where you are located, it could be illegal to purchase those drugs without a prescription, so you may be reluctant to report your case to the police.
On the other hand, places like CVS and Drugstore.com are making it easier for you to get your prescriptions the legal way, by taking orders online. Both of these sites will also let you order your prescriptions online and have them delivered to your door. It's a better way to get your prescriptions because you can save yourself a trip to the drug store, and the drugs are delivered to your door.
Got comments about online medical advice? Post your thoughts below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 31 Jan 2007
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Medical Advice Online (Posted: 31 Jan 2007)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved