Most of us have self-diagnosed at some point in our lives. Usually, the basis of our self-diagnosis is information about an illness and its probable treatment from the internet, hearsay, or through our parents, relatives, and friends. And based on our diagnosis, we purchase off the counter medication to cure ourselves. The problem – there are many unpleasant dangers of self-medication that we don’t consider.
Why and when do we self-diagnose?
With the widespread availability of the internet, self-diagnosis has taken on pandemic proportions. A huge chunk of internet users casually research illnesses and their management techniques. The brain stashes away the information, and the next time we experience similar symptoms, we simply decide to dig out the article and find out the medicines it had suggested.
Or after hearing that someone we know had experienced similar symptoms, and we ask him/her about the medicines they were recommended. Another reason why we like to pretend to know what’s wrong with our body is that it saves us the hassle of booking an appointment, waiting for our number to be called out, and finally talking with the doctor; not to mention, it saves the consultation charges as well.
The illnesses that you are most likely to self-medicate are-
- Common cough and cold
- Hay fever
- Eye stress
- Sinus infection
What are the dangers of self-medication?
If you were made aware of the dangers of self-medication, you will think twice before doing it-
The doom and gloom scenario
Search engines have an algorithm that puts grave illnesses right up at the top when you search the symptoms. And if you find that your symptoms line up with those of serious illnesses like brain tumour or cancer, you could jump to conclusions. And this could trigger unnecessary panic.
Delay in actual treatment
In the reverse scenario, maybe you have contracted an illness that requires professional help. But you may write off the symptoms as harmless. You are not trained to identify an illness based on its signs. For example, your fever may not be stemming from a cough and cold but could be a symptom of meningitis – a serious disorder. You will not be able to suppress the symptoms for long. And when you eventually do consult the doctor, vital time will have elapsed. This is because early treatment increases the chances of recovery.
So if you have been experiencing any symptoms, you can consult a doctor through Medibuddy’s E-consultancy services.
Could breed toxicity
Not all drugs should be taken together. Different drugs could mingle, and at best this will make them ineffective. But what’s worse is that the drug interaction could make them extremely toxic as well, and this could lead to a life-threatening scenario.
Spare a thought for the side-effects
Everybody’s metabolism is unique, and our bodies absorb medicines differently. So the medicines your friends took may not have had an adverse effect on them, but could trigger side-effects in you. Your doctor would know just the right drugs to prescribe based on several factors. For example, the medicine you take for common cough and cold can trigger somnolence; or you may get a blurry vision from your cough syrup.
The wrong dosage
Yet another among the dangers of self-medication is that you are not aware of the dosage you need, or how long you should continue to take the medicine. If you take small doses, your symptoms will not improve. But if you overdose, that too could be dangerous. If you do not complete the full course of medicines, your illness will relapse.
The dangers of self-medication can ruin your health. Do not dabble with things you do not completely understand. Going to a doctor is your safest bet.