Got a cough? Scratchy throat? Headache?
The Internet might have some answers.
New Web sites are making it convenient for people to determine what might be causing their symptoms.
When using a Web site to find a diagnosis, it is important to find out how the site is getting its information, and to remember that nothing can take the place of a doctor’s diagnosis.
One of the most popular Web sites, WebMD, walks users through a series a questions to help determine the problem, often suggesting a few possibilities.
WebMD spokeswoman Katherine Hahn said people like going to Web sites because it can give objective advice.
“WebMD is the leading provider of health information services,” she said. “We help consumers take an active role in managing their health by providing objective health care information and lifestyle information.”
After giving suggested diagnoses, most Web sites also explain what the causes are, and ways to treat them.
“Our interactive services enable consumers to obtain in-depth information on a particular disease or condition, research and plan for a healthy lifestyle goal, search for relevant health information across the Web and watch originally produced videos,” Hahn said. “WebMD has developed unique features that help consumers check symptoms, locate physicians, assess personal health status, receive e-newsletters and alerts, and participate in online communities with peers and medical experts.”