50 Best Search Engines for Your Symptoms

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July 14th, 2009

By Jill Gordon

The great American writer and humorist Mark Twain once famously said, “Beware of health books. You may die of a misprint.” Following such advice makes sense as the Internet makes health information available from experts and amateurs alike. Some websites offer advice based on aggregating information from across the web while others focus on quality information from experts and reliable sources. Here are the 50 best search engines for your symptoms.

Symptom Engines Offered From The Healthcare Professionals

A number of reputable doctors have begun to offer versions of their services online. Here are some of the best symptom search engines provided by doctors and others in the healthcare industry.

  1. MD Guidelines: A resource for medical professionals, this site was started by a doctor with the aim goal of bringing uniformity to disability diagnosis. Search common symptoms and diagnoses connected to work-related injuries.
  2. OrganizedWisdom: The credited as the first human-powered, doctor-guided health search engine, users are kept up to date with the latest news in health in real time.
  3. Medinfo: Another English resource, Medinfo is maintained by general practitioner aiming to provide expert advice to a citizenry dealing with backed up and complicated healthcare system. This is one of the few sites actually disclaiming its information is no substitute for an actual doctor’s advice.
  4. My Electronic MD: An online diagnosis tool that attempts to approach the process from a patient’s perspective and with a doctor’s knowledge.
  5. Diseases Database: From the common cold to flesh eating bacteria, this great resource gives information on diseases for the sick and curious alike.
  6. RxList: A great resource if you think you’re having an adverse reaction to prescription medication. Look up the drug(s) you’ve taken and discover any side effects.
  7. Healthline Symptom Search: An innovative search engine that includes a million definitions and over 250,000 medical concepts pours through medical articles and the Internet to help find a diagnosis.
  8. Medicine Net: A little cumbersome to use since the site only allows searches of medical symptoms. However, the site is still a great resource for what ails you.
  9. Merck A.D.A.M. Symptom Navigator: From the German pharmaceutical giant, this diagnosis tool works for anybody of any age.
  10. Free MD: Dr. Stephen Schueler acts as your virtual doctor to help narrow down reason for your symptoms. Clear video and clean interface make this site worth visiting even without being sick.

Symptom Engines Offered By Non-Profit Organizations

Perhaps the greatest debate in healthcare today is whether access to quality is a basic human right. Following in that philosophical vein of thought, here are the best online diagnosis resources offered by non-profits and governmental agencies.

  1. NOAH: A service available from the state of New York, link symptoms to diseases and conditions. While the interface isn’t particularly easy to navigate all information is available in Spanish.
  2. Netwellness: A collection of universities in Ohio, such as The Ohio State University, have teamed up to provide valuable, expert health information free of cost.
  3. Home Healthcare Guide: From the National Health Service, England’s national healthcare provider, this site gives information on everything from drugs to surgical operations. Also offers information by age and gender.
  4. Get.MD: A customizable medical search engine for both doctors and patients. This resource has extremely reliable information all of which is checked by licensed physicians.
  5. Healthcentral: A symptom checker for men, women and even children, this site is supplemented with helpful graphics and high quality research articles.
  6. Online Medical Diagnosis: A team of doctors teamed up to provide this online resource for symptom research. Your input could return one or more of any 1200 diseases.
  7. Mayo Clinic Symptom Index: A symptom diagnosis tool from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Find your symptom and relate it to any number of causes or conditions. All information is examined and approved by Mayo docs.
  8. Family Doctor: One of the few symptom engines provided by a non-profit organization, Family Doctor is provided for free by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
  9. AARP Symptom Checker: A great resource for older users, this resource is provided for free from the American Association of Retired Persons, America’s largest interest organization.
  10. Livestrong: A symptom checker provided by the Livestrong Foundation, the cancer charity founded by world-famous cyclist Lance Armstrong. It also includes self-treatment techniques and when to call a doctor.

Symptom Engines From Sites Dedicated to Health

Health is one of the most searched words on the Internet. Some of the larger sites attracted more than 17 million unique visitors a month. The better health portals harness the full power of the Internet to offer an invaluable service. From blogs to video to social networking, each site offers something different but these sites all have great symptoms search engines.

  1. WebMD: One of the most popular self-diagnosis tools on the Internet, WebMD practically started the online health trend.
  2. eCureMe: Search diseases and ailments based on your most troublesome symptom. It includes a helpful symptoms list in case users aren’t quite sure how to characterize their problems.
  3. iSeekHealth: Find out what your symptoms mean and look for remedies and cures. It also includes information and consequences of prescription and natural remedies.
  4. Healia: Not only discover what your symptoms mean but find support groups and communities to help deal with the diagnosis.
  5. InteliHealth: A resource provided by mega-health insurer Aetna, this great site is partnered with Harvard Medical School to provide top-notch information.
  6. CureResearch Symptom Center: Health information accumulated from across the web supplemented with helpful articles and video.
  7. Afraid to Ask: Finally an engine to help find the answers to those obscure questions you’ve been asking since you were thirteen. It’s a resource specializing in embarrassing health issues from sexually transmitted infections to masturbation.
  8. WrongDiagnosis Symptom Center: A lot of online diagnosis tools out there are great for one or two symptoms but fail when dealing with multiple symptoms. When dealing with several, seemingly unconnected, ailments this site can help find the cause or causes.
  9. eMedTV Health Information: Not only does this site have over 100 health specific video channels on topics ranging from AIDS to anthrax but it can also help answer specific questions on a range of symptoms.
  10. Medgle: One stop shopping for everything from symptoms to drugs to finding a doctor. Search 10,000 symptoms and over 2100 different diagnoses.
  11. Your Diagnosis: A rather ingenious tool, this site asks a series of medical questions rather than trusting user input. The result, claim site developers, is a more reliable resource than other online diagnosis tools.
  12. Diagnose Me: Utilizing a powerful program known as the Analyst, this site combines real world experience and academic research with user input.
  13. Revolution Health: Some symptom sites are limited to physical illnesses but this site is different as it also considers mental health. Sometimes it’s all in your head.
  14. My Optum Health: Online health management site also featuring a top notch symptom checker. This site even keeps track of previously reported symptoms to check how you’re doing.
  15. Quality Health: A graphic symptom checker perfect for checking symptoms without necessarily being sure of the problem.

Symptom Engines From Popular Web Sites

Piggy-backing on the popularity of sites such as WebMD, a number of name brand search engines have gotten in the act of diagnosing illnesses. While some are standard symptom engines, others are in depth and backed by the most reputable experts imaginable.

  1. Ask: A simple, easy-to-use symptom search engine from the developers of the popular Ask.com.
  2. AOL Health: America Online offers their clever symptom checker. This tool asks questions to narrow down possible causes.
  3. About.com Symptom Checker: With information provided by the Harvard Medical School, About.com’s symptom tool offers reliable, easy access medical information.
  4. MSN Health: Offers a few of health services but is mainly limited to symptom checking.
  5. Prevention.com: A great tool for one stop diagnosis. Search physical or mental diagnosis.

Specific Symptom Search Engines

To be honest, online diagnosis and symptom search engines can be risky. There’s a reason doctors undergo nearly a decade of education perfecting their skills. The idea a computer program is an adequate replacement for a real life doctor is absurd. Maybe someday, but not anytime soon. Realizing the complexity of diagnosis, a few symptom engines have gotten extremely specific. Here are the best.

  1. Babycenter: An online resource great for new parents making too many calls to the pediatrician, this site is just for children up to five years old.
  2. Foot.com: Injuries and pains to the feet are common and often difficult for even licensed doctors to diagnose.
  3. Tamiflu Symptom Checker: A symptom checker solely aimed at deciding whether you have the flu or something else.
  4. Health Central Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis: A painful affliction of the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can drastically change people’s lifestyles and habits. Find out if your normal joint pain is something you should check with your doctor.
  5. About’s Pediatric Diagnosis Tool: Helps figure out what is causing your child’s symptoms.

For Your Pets

Pets are people too… According to some enthusiastic owners. People are crazy for their pets. Some of the biggest animal charities, such as PETA and the SPCA, pull in donations comparable to billion dollar operations like the American Heart Association or the National Cancer Institute. It’s not surprising people care about the health of their pets. These are the best diagnosis tools for your cat, dog or gila monster.

  1. Pets MD: A high powered search engine just for your pet, this site offers information primarily geared toward dogs and cats but the symptom checker certainly works for birds, ferrets, etc.
  2. Pet Education: Video and shopping available from Doctor Foster and Smith, a pet products company. Their powerful search engine yields results for all kinds of animals, even a few exotic ones.
  3. Help My Hound: Not all medical problems are of the human variety. Finally, an online resource for man’s best friend. Simply search based on what you observe.
  4. Help My Cat: From the makers of Help My Hound, a symptom engine for cat lovers.
  5. Web DVM: An online resource and community for dog and cat lovers. Maintained by a licensed veterinarian in Florida, this site provides easy access to free information on your tiniest loved one.

 

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