Q:

How do you diagnose minor illnesses with an online symptom checker?

A:

Quick Answer

An online symptom checker is an informational tool and not a replacement for a diagnosis from a doctor, states WebMD. However, people consult an online symptom checker to discover what medical conditions correspond to a particular set of symptoms.

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Full Answer

The WebMD symptom checker allows people to browse a list of common symptoms or an extended list of alphabetized symptoms, as shown on its website. Clicking on a symptom yields a list of associated ailments and situations. Clicking on "anxiety," for example, yields a list that includes excessive caffeine use, depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

People with a WebMD user profile are able to save their searches for symptoms. However, the symptom checker does not require a user profile for use.

The online version of the Merck Manual professional edition, according its website, computes the most likely diagnoses from a database of 6,000 diseases. People find potential diagnoses to match their symptoms, and then they are able to obtain more info about those, or any, diagnoses by using a separate search field on the same website. Membership is not required to use these tools, but users must enter their age, gender and region into the symptom checker to narrow down diagnoses geographically and by age- and gender-related data.

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