An online symptom checker is available at WebMD. However, this informational tool is not a substitute for a professional diagnosis. Users should still consult a doctor if they suspect they may have a medical condition, cautions WebMD.
While it may seem convenient to bypass the doctor's office and utilize the Internet to diagnose a disease, this can do more harm than good, warns DualDiagnosis.org of Foundations Recovery Network. Individuals who put their faith in online diagnosis instead of seeking confirmation from the doctors may go down the wrong path. They may attempt to treat themselves in a way that can cause their condition to worsen.
Individuals who want to use the Internet as an educational tool should evaluate the websites they use to verify that they are trustworthy and up to date. Good sources of health information on the Internet include websites by the government, medical schools, universities, not-for-profit organizations and scientific journals, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Such websites provide their medical credentials and contact details. They cite references where necessary, and they review and update their information to ensure that it is current.
However, while information from reliable websites can be helpful, an individual should still discuss his condition with a doctor who can personally examine the individual or run tests to reach a diagnosis and treat the individual accordingly, reminds DualDiagnosis.org.