Don’t Google That Symptom

Men's Health |

Here’s some information all us Cyberchondriacs should take with a spoonful of sugar: we’re getting worse

When I was lad my family had a big ol’ medical book courtesy the Reader’s Digest.

Blind pimple on the cheek? Just a glossary search away and, whoah, really? Most of the time the book overreacted and that rash was just chafe from my wetsuit and not a sexually transmitted disease, because, after all, I wasn’t even having sex yet.

The book was left to gather dust once we got our PC and a dial up internet connection, and Google became the first port of call for every sniffle.

Those with health anxieties were about to grow even more paranoid…

F’rinstance, if you have headache Google will take you through all of the possibilities, which include meningitis and a brain tumour. In fact, a quarter of all the articles will suggest a brain tumour even though they only develop in fewer than one in 50 000 people.

The latest annual Harris Poll shows that those who look online for health information are doing so more often.

Yep, we’re getting worse.

In 2011, 74% used the Internet to look for health information, and 60% have done so in the past month.

So why shouldn’t you do it? Google doesn’t break the news softly. It’s not the most sympathetic search engine (none of them are), nor is it very reassuring. However, if you’re after a list of 784 possible problems, all equally terrifying, then you’re in luck!

Don’t Google your symptoms, instead you should regularly check in here for the best in health and fitness advice because prevention is better than cure.

But if you must, then be sure to share your findings with your doctor. After taking your money they’ll tell you that everything is going to be okay…

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