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5 reasons why you should be careful diagnosing yourself online

5 reasons why you should be careful diagnosing yourself online
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In the era of WebMD, it's almost impossible to avoid googling a medical symptom only to have the search results show some lethal condition. You sprint over to the doctor's office to get the bad news, only to hear that you've been worrying over a normal case of spring allergies.

It's hard to find someone who hasn't had this happen to them. That's why I knew that all of you would relate to CNN's list of reasons why you'll want to take that online self-diagnosis with a grain of salt.

1. Forums function as a great coping mechanism, but you can never tell who's on the other side of a computer.

2. Many symptoms have common search terms and many iffy ad-supported sites know that people searching for them are going to be worried.

3. We're too emotional to diagnose ourselves. "It's very hard to keep emotional distance," Dr. Natasha Burgert told CNN reporters, "So you can read about a diagnosis that either makes you very scared or calms your fears - and that's the path you'll continue down, whether it's correct or not."

4. If you do diagnose yourself and end up visiting your doctor, then don't be shy about sharing what you've researched. Just don't get mad when you find out that you don't, in fact, have a life-threatening disease only found in one three-mile stretch of jungle.

5. The most important thing to understand is that if you're sick, then you're sick. Figuring out why you're sick isn't going to solve the problem. Get to the doctor and bring home a real diagnosis before you drive yourself crazy.

While you're waiting for your appointment, though, you might want to check out all of my helpful health tips right here.

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