If you're feeling under the weather, a quick internet search could save you a trip to the doctor, or it could turn you into a full-fledged hypochondriac. WebMD's symptom checker is especially notorious for instigating unnecessary freak-outs. Fill out a set of questions about your back pain, and it'll say you could have a muscle strain or a kidney infection.
Luckily, there are many sites out there that can give you the medical information you need:
- Informulary: Started by two professors from Dartmouth Medical School, it gives you facts about any FDA-approved medication.
- UpToDate: The go-to resource for doctors who want to stay up to date (as the name suggests) with the latest research. Most parts of the site are behind a paywall, but you can get general summaries on conditions and symptoms for free.
- The Mayo Clinic: The website for the nonprofit hospital group has its own symptom checker, but this one zeroes in on a few potential causes.
- Medline Plus: A collection of medical information from the National Library of Medicine that includes lots of great animated videos.
- Cochrane: If you're considering a specific treatment, this resource has easy-to-understand summaries of the latest medical research.