Mailbag

Don't diagnose with Internet

I refer to the column, A Little Knowledge... (Life, Oct 11).

We should not rely on the Internet as our primary source of medical information. We might end up believing we have a life-threatening condition when it is actually harmless or we might dismiss a condition as non-threatening when it actually deserves medical attention.

A single misstep such as taking the wrong medication or delaying medical treatment based on Web information could prove fatal.

Therefore, the right person to diagnose our conditions, dispel our concerns and arm us with the right medical information is still a licensed medical practitioner.

We can always seek a second opinion from another doctor if in doubt.

This is not to say we should steer clear of the Web entirely. We can use it to supplement our knowledge, not for diagnosis or treatment, but for learning about our condition in detail and how to choose a medical specialist.

Even then, we should seek information only from credible sources.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2015, with the headline 'Don't diagnose with Internet'. Print Edition | Subscribe