Love Researching Symptoms Online? Avoid Self-Diagnosing Into the ER

Have you ever started to get sudden symptoms, such as abdominal cramps or a headache, and immediately went to the internet to find out what’s going on and how serious it is? If so, you know how easy it is to convince yourself that you’re in the middle of an emergency and need to rush to the hospital—even if it’s not a true emergency.

The confusion comes from the fact that a lot of common symptoms can be a sign of anything from a cold to cancer—and no amount of searching online is going to tell you what’s at the root of your problem. A better idea: Instead of panicking, leave it to the professionals to determine what’s going on.

Below are some of the symptoms you might be searching for online. For most of these, a call to the 24-Hour Nurse Line, an online doctor visit or trip to a retail health clinic might be your best bet if your primary care doctor isn’t available. You could also go to an urgent care center. While you should always start with your primary care doctor, here’s a little more about what to do in each instance:

  • Sore Throat: If your throat hurts, consider calling the 24-Hour Nurse Line for advice or to get personalized answers. An online doctor visit or retail health clinic can provide a prescription, if necessary. If it’s getting worse, you may want to head to urgent care.
  • Vomiting: If the vomiting lasts for more than one day or if your nausea persists for more than a few days, contact the 24-Hour Nurse Line or schedule an online doctor visit.
  • Coughing or Fever: These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you’ve come down with bronchitis; they can also show up with a cold or the flu. Set up an online doctor’s visit or head to urgent care in order to determine what your symptoms mean and to receive the proper treatment.
  • Headaches: Consider calling the 24-Hour Nurse Line or set up an online doctor visit or in-person doctor’s visit if headaches persist.
  • Stomach Ache: If you have severe abdominal pain that comes on suddenly or if a mild pain gets worse, contact the 24-Hour Nurse Line, set up an online doctor visit or head straight to urgent care if the pain continues.

In any situation where you are experiencing more severe symptoms than the ones listed above, like intense chest pain, confusion, numbness or trouble breathing, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Visit bcbsm.com/findcare for more information on where to go.

No matter where you get care, always follow up with your primary care doctor.

Photo credit: Pexels

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