What is the first thing you do when you start feeling under the weather? Do you wait for the symptoms to become more prominent or do you immediately start taking precautions? If you are like us, you probably Google your symptoms on the web.
Although more and more people are turning to the Internet for medical advice, “Dr Google” is no substitute for an actual visit to a doctor apparently.
“Cyberchondria”, the unfounded fear of having a serious illness after researching symptoms on the Internet. Studies have shown that such research intensifies the fears of people prone to hypochondria.
According to a European study, half of all German Internet users do online research on health topics at least once a month – 58% before a doctor's visit and 62% after receiving a doctor's diagnosis.
More often than not this self-diagnosis on the internet always points towards something more sinister. For example, if you search for ‘headache’, you are most likely going to find around 20 results, each scarier than the other.