Doctors advise against checking health symptoms online

Dr Oluwaseun Ayotola, a General practitioner at Ajayi Medical Centre, Lagos has advised patients against checking their health symptoms online to avoid anxiety and misdiagnosis.

Ayotola gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

He said that doctors used to assess and ask patients several questions based on patients reported symptoms, 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 on Google the symptoms.

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“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 tumour’ 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 that they should 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 is 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.

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