PETALING JAYA: Turning to “Dr Google” for self-diagnosis and treatment appears to be getting common.
Some are even consuming expired medication which has been stored at home for an extended period. Those who opt for such “treatment” said they turn to these options because it is convenient and cost-effective.
Adele Mok (not her real name) said “Dr Google” has made it more convenient to google for symptoms and treatment.
“I suffer from sinusitis and recurrent respiratory disease. I often have medications for respiratory illness in the house.
“I usually use these medicines if I get another attack. I would also google the medicine’s name to figure out its uses,” said the 34-year-old beautician.
“If the symptoms persist or get worse, only then will I seek medical attention,” she added.
Despite the warnings by the health fraternity against relying on the Internet for self-diagnosis and self-medication, Mok said the information online has been helpful in treating some of her symptoms.
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“So far, it has worked; it gives me the relief I need and saves the time and cost of seeking medical attention,” she said.
Mok also said she is not worried over the safety aspects as she is aware of the efficacy of the medicines.
Mok claimed that she had even consumed medications which were prescribed more than a year ago.
“As long as it is still sealed, I take it. Of course, I would not take those which have started to disintegrate,” she said.
M. Raj, 25, said he keeps spare medicines at home as it is easier to treat minor ailments.
He also admitted to using these medicines past its expiry date.
“As long as it is still in its packaging, I will use it. Sometimes they work,” he added.
He also turned to the Internet to search for symptoms.
“Sometimes, the symptoms are similar to serious illnesses, that is when I get a little worried and would seek medical attention.
“But sometimes, the information on the Internet is accurate enough and the treatment prescribed works,” he said.
As for 45-year old technician Ahmad Karim, self-medication helps, especially in such times with the rising cost of living.
He said each visit to a clinic may cost around RM50 to RM100, while the wait at a government health facility may be long and there is no facility within his locality.
“Healthcare costs are no longer affordable. Being able to use these medicines more than once helps save some money,” he said.
He also said that when he or his family members go to a clinic, the medicines prescribed will be stored for future use.
“We store it in the refrigerator and use it the next time someone is ill.
“If that doesn’t do the job, then we have no choice but to seek medical attention,” he added.
Ahmad said the longest time he has stored these medications in the refrigerator was for two years.
Asked if he is aware of the dangers of self-medication and consuming expired medicine, Ahmad said he is more concerned about the cost factors.