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Do's and Dont's of diagnosing your health online

(WEAU) – One local doctor at UW Health System says only about 30% of his patients will bring in information researched online. But you have to be careful with this quick and easy resource.

"I don't think I've ever gone to a doctor for being sick of fever or anything it’s so much easier," said Eric Hagstrom, UW-Eau Claire freshman.

Convenience and no cost are the most common reasons why people are researching medical information online.

"The good thing about the internet is its accessible, any person or organization that wants to put information out there can do it, so then you have to figure out who you can trust,” said Dr. Bill Cayley, UW Health System.

But who do you trust? Dr. Bill Cayley says there is a way to know if a health website is fact or fiction.
"Health on the net code, HON is an organization that certifies websites that they meet certain standards for quality and integrity,” said Cayley.

Whether you’re looking up why you have a sore throat or symptoms for gangrene, college students have reasons why they resort to the internet.

"I usually don't have that much time and just to figure out if it is something I need to go to the doctor for,” said Ellen Junko, UW-Eau Claire freshman.

"The internet is a great source of information but you can't ask it questions, and it’s not going to hold your hand while you’re going through something," said Cayley.

Dr. Cayley recommends people look up information on local health organization website such as UW Health System, Marshfield Clinic, or even Mayo Clinic Health System to help people find the answers they need.

"Especially with being in the dorms the first time, I've had a stuffy nose for a long time, because there are just so many new things,” said Hagstrom.

Cayley says you shouldn't diagnose yourself if you're in pain, or have a high fever. If it’s urgent, you should see a doctor.

"If I have a cold, I'm always looking up dietary stuff what to take if I'm feeling down, I've come across vitamin c pills,” said Hagstrom.

"Sometimes it helps just having an idea of being able to put my symptoms into words I guess," said Junko.

Here are a few sites Cayley recommends:

http://consumers.cochrane.org/
http://familydoctor.org/
http://www.patient.co.uk/
http://www.webmd.com/
http://www.cdc.gov/
http://www.ahrq.gov/
http://www.uwhealth.org/
http://www.marshfieldclinic.org/patients/
http://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/


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