By Haruna Gimba
A medical doctor has advised patients against checking their health symptoms online to avoid anxiety and misdiagnosis.
A General Practitioner at Ajayi Medical Centre, Lagos gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
He said doctors assess and ask patients several questions based on the patients reported symptoms, and review them holistically before arriving at a diagnosis.
“It has been discovered that most people once they feel sick, the next thing they do is to check the symptoms on Google. Most times, they are confronted with misinformation, unqualified opinions and alarmist advice that will induce fear and might even complicate the situation.
“We have seen cases of patients who had ‘headache’ and believed they had developed ‘brain tumor’ because they checked online. Just because you share a symptom with a disease does not mean you have the disease; there might be a simple and non-life threatening explanation for your aches,” he said.
He advised people to resist the compulsion of self-diagnosis, but always consult qualified health practitioners and live a healthy life.
Also, Dr David Agboola of St. Raphael’s Hospital in Ikorodu, Lagos State, warned that health information are sensitive, thus they should be handled with care.
“Every time you visit a web page seeking information about a health condition, there is a chance that such data is being collected by a third party. “Before you know it, you begin to receive tailored adverts and emails proffering treatments and solution to the ailments.
“Using medications that are not prescribed by a doctor can worsen symptoms and lead to complications,” he said.