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Online Medicine

December 25, 2012, 6:14 PM by Kellee Azar

Online Medicine

These days, many of us like to have everything right at our finger tips, even a diagnosis for whatever ails us. But now, turning to the World Wide Web can actually cause more problems than it cures.

Eighteen-year-old Kendra Johnson likes having the option to skip the doctor and use the Internet, instead when she’s not feeling well.

"I see if it’s something I can fix myself before I go to the doctor and poke and prick to see what's wrong," Johnson said.

While she may have grown up going to the doctor for whatever is bothering her, now she says this not only saves her time, but privacy too.

"It’s nicer to be able to not have to go in and if it’s like something personal you don't have to tell the doctor all the weird things. I just look online and see if I can’t fix myself before I have to go and embarrass myself," Johnson said.

But now, one trend has some people turning to Facebook when they are feeling sick. But that’s something Johnson thinks is a little too personal.

“Facebook is so out there and everyone can see it. So I think I try to keep myself a little more private," Johnson said.

Not only is it personal, but to doctors they say you run the risk of getting bad information.

"People come with all of these symptoms and they say I've been looking on the Internet. I think I have a blood clot, this is what I have. I had a patient come in saying she had an atopic pregnancy even by looking online at the symptoms. Sometimes these can be confusing for the patient," Dr. Jorge Patino said.

But that doesn't mean all websites are off limits.

"Definitely Facebook should not be used as a way to look for information. People have to look for websites that are recognized by the state organizations. I definitely agree on doing these types of searches or even blogs," Patino said.

What it comes down to for both patient and doctor, is to use the web when it’s appropriate but don't let it stop you from walking into a doctors office.

"I certainly encourage people to look up things online from recognized website that we will give you and then if you still have doubts or further questions come and see the doctor absolutely," Patino said.

"It definitely won’t stop me. If I see something on the Internet and it tells me to go to the doctor and get some medicine I will definitely go there," Johnson said.

Patino Suggests using websites like Family Doctor or the American Academy of Family Medicine to get more information online.

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