For a few years now, people of all ages have looked for health information on the web. They may feel too embarrassed or feel a symptom is too trivial to ask a doctor a question right away, so instead they go online to Google or social media sites with their health and medical questions.
They may Google a frustrating or embarrassing symptom to see what diseases it’s linked with. Or if it’s something not too embarrassing, they may post information about their symptom to Facebook friends, asking for treatment advice or thoughts. If (or, perhaps more accurately, when) patients find unreliable sources, they may begin to feel extremely nervous about their symptoms. After all, who hasn’t Googled a single symptom and then convinced themselves they have some kind of deadly disease?
I know I have, and I’m not alone. About 40 percent of all Americans turn to social media for health information and 61 percent use the internet instead of visiting the doctor, according to Mashable.com.