How to Research Health Issues: The Best Alternatives to Dr. Google

Sandy Writtenhouse 12-05-2017

We all know that Google is a popular and dependable search engine. So much that the word became a verb listed in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary many years ago. But does that make it a reliable source for researching health issues?


Sure, you may receive plenty of results from your search, but should you trust them? For you Dr. Google users, there are better and more trustworthy ways to obtain health information 6 Top Health Forums Online for Expert Support Want to get real answers to your health fears? Visit these legitimate health forums for expert advice on your medical queries. Read More .

Has This Ever Happened to You or Someone You Know?

Out of nowhere you feel a sharp pain or strangely ill, so you pop open Google to do a search for the problem. After skimming the results, you suddenly think you may have some fatal condition or incurable disease. But in reality, it’s merely a pulled muscle or flu virus.

sick woman working on laptop
Image Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds via Shutterstock

Or maybe what happens is that you receive so many search results that vary from simple to serious. Now you really have no idea what could be wrong because there is just way too much information to read and absorb.

Okay, one more scenario. You perform that Google search about your health condition and find nothing at all. And this one could be the worst situation because now you are extremely stressed and concerned The Dangers Of Searching For Medical Information Online Searching for and relying on online medical information to diagnose/treat yourself, someone you know, or even a pet, can prove costlier than you think. Here's why... Read More . Is this some unknown condition that no one else has ever experienced?


Why should you put yourself through any of these scenarios? Your health is the most valuable thing you have. Should you really trust it to a blog post by Hank Hypochondriac who has no medical knowledge or training whatsoever?

The answer, of course, is No. Google is a wonderful search engine for many things. But when it comes to your health, you should visit a site you can trust right from the start. If you are not quite ready to make that doctor’s appointment, at least go to a website maintained by health professionals and medical experts.

doctor with many diagnoses
Image Credit: Billion Photos via Shutterstock

Stop using Dr. Google to research your health issues and check out these trustworthy options instead.


1. WebMD

It is no surprise that WebMD makes this list. Around since the late 1990s, the medical team works with doctors across the country. The company has won multiple awards over the years and has been accredited by the URAC Health Website Accreditation since 2001. How can WebMD help you?

webmd health experts

One standout feature of WebMD is the intuitive symptom checker. Select Check Your Symptoms from the top and enter your gender and age to begin. Then, select the area of your ailment on the Body Map.

A list of symptoms will then display for you to choose as well as possible conditions related to them. You then select a condition to obtain full details.


webmd symptom checker

WebMD has a plethora of information for health issues from acid reflux to zoster. You can review causes, symptoms, tests, and treatment options.

Along with a search tool, you can browse sections for Drugs & Supplements, Living Healthy, Family & Pregnancy, and News & Experts. Get information you can trust from WebMD online or your mobile device.

webmd healthy


Download — WebMD for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is best known for its physical locations, but the website offers a great amount of information for various health issues. The site has a long list of medical editors with specialties in everything from allergies to women’s health.

You can take a look at the Research, Education, and Product sections; however, to get help with your health issue you should select Patient Care & Health Info from the menu.

mayo clinic main

This handy section includes a symptom checker like WebMD, although it is not as visual. You pick a symptom by letter or from the adult or child list of options.

Next, you select specific factors related to that symptom. For example, if you choose lower back pain, you can mark items like when the pain began and its triggers.

mayo clinic symptoms web

The final step provides you with possible causes for your issue. You can click one to read more information about causes, risk factors, complications, tests, and treatments.

The Mayo Clinic website has helpful articles about healthy lifestyles including details for pregnancy, children, and fitness. You can also pop over to the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest news or articles on special topics.

mayo clinic articles web

3. MedlinePlus

Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus has a large advisory group of medical experts Where Can You Find Reliable Medical Advice Online? Read More and covers over 950 health topics. The governmental website has won various awards and receives over one million visitors per day.

To begin your search on MedlinePlus, you can enter a keyword into the search box or click Health Topics from the menu.

medline plus main web

The Health Topics section is where you can select a part of the body where you are experiencing symptoms. You will then drill down to more specifics. For instance, if you choose lungs and breathing, you can then pick from options like bronchus, lung, nasal cavity, or trachea.

medline plus topics web

From there, you will see a list of possible conditions and just click one for further information. Like the above websites, you can review a summary, symptoms, prevention, and treatments for each condition.

medline plus condition web

The Health Topics area also include options for specific disorders and conditions along with diagnosis and general health. You can get more information on Drugs & Supplements or check out Videos & Tools, which are both in the main menu.

4. HealthTap

If you prefer a health resource with personalized help rather than generalized information, take a look at HealthTap. The website along with mobile apps gives you access to over 107,000 doctors. You can connect for a fee via video, voice, or text message.

healthtap main web

HealthTap offers a featured called Dr. AI which is available on the website and mobile apps after signing up for a free account. This allows you to enter brief details and symptoms.

Then, you will receive a report with possible conditions and can then ask a question or simply click to receive full details. You can review a description, treatments, symptoms, and medications.

healthtap condition web

If you would like to just browse the site for health information, you can do that as well. Scroll down to the very bottom of the HealthTap website and click Topics by Specialty. From there you can select a condition and then a subcategory.

For example, if you choose allergy you will options such as eczema, bug bites, and pain when coughing or sneezing. The HealthTap Blog also offers useful articles, news, and tips for health-related topics.

healthtap blog web

Download — HealthTap for Android | iOS (Free)

5. KidsHealth From Nemours

If you have a child and would like to find a specific health site just for them, KidsHealth from Nemours is an excellent resource. The award-winning website is part of the Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, which is a pediatrician-led center.

kidshealth general web

When you enter the Parents section, you will find a list of handy links for common topics. You can choose from conditions, infections, and first aid. Or check out the section on doctors and hospitals for details on visits, test, surgery, and medicines.

kidshealth first aid web

The first aid area is very helpful with information on bites, burns, sprains, and other injuries. If your child is experiencing specific symptoms, you can enter those into the search box. For instance, if you enter stomach pain, you will receive a list of results that you can review further.

kidshealth stomach web

KidsHealth from Nemours is a trustworthy and helpful resource, beginning with your pregnancy and taking you through your child’s teen years. You can not only receive assistance for physical health issues, but also behavioral and emotional ones along with parenting tips and advice 11 Sites for Parenting Tips and Advice When You Need It New parents need all the help they can get. These 11 websites have all the parenting tips and advice you need. Read More .

Say Good-Bye to Dr. Google

For answering health questions, researching symptoms, managing conditions, and much more, these sites are wonderful alternatives to a Google search 7 Google Search Alternatives and Their Trademark Features Are you a die-hard Google user? Give these alternative search engines a try. From privacy to helping out charitable causes, these search engines could give you some reasons to change the way you browse. Read More . Check them out and see which one you prefer and then be sure to bookmark it so you have it handy always.

Do you have a different health website that you always visit? If you use another resource that is not listed here, please share it in the comments below for other readers.

Image Credits: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Related topics: Google, Google Search, Health.

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