Manage Your Health: Health on the Internet

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

We're talking about managing your own health this week on Health Watch. There's so much health information available at the click of a mouse button these days, but can you trust what you find online? Dr. Shelley Roaten, chairman of family practice and community medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says the Internet should never replace a consultation with your doctor.

There may be web sites that allow you to input symptoms and get a possible diagnosis, but they can't do an examination or tests to confirm a diagnosis. You should consult a doctor before making treatment decisions based on an Internet diagnosis. The Internet is a good resource for learning about conditions you may have. Dr. Roaten suggests focusing on sites run by government agencies, academic medical institutions, non-profit associations and professional organizations.

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March 2006

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