By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TVBy Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – How many of you go straight to Google with a medical question or concern? In fact, women tend to do this more often than men, but there are some pitfalls to surfing the web when it comes to your health.

The web can answer just about anything, but it can also impart inflammatory, misleading, or sometimes downright wrong information. And particularly if it’s information about your health, that can lead to unnecessary anxiety and fear or even a false sense of security.

So what to do? Only go to reputable sites. Resist the urge to just randomly search a topic. That’s often where you get into trouble. A good rule of thumb is to search for organizations that you know are backed by experts like the Centers for Disease Control, the American Heart Association, the Mayo Clinic. And if you’re not sure, ask your physician or a healthcare worker for recommendations.

Plus, never try to diagnose yourself with a condition online. You may under or over-estimate the severity of your symptoms. Always see a healthcare professional first, then use the Internet to supplement what you’ve been told by your doctor.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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