Has a sudden pain in your side or a splotch on your skin that wasn’t there yesterday ever sent you running to WebMD or Google instead of your primary care provider? If so, you may be one of the increasing number of Ohioans turning to the internet to diagnose what ails you.
According to a survey of 3,000 adults conducted by Tinker Law Firm, almost 38 percent of Ohioans surveyed admitted they consult Google or other search engines and medical diagnosing websites instead of a medical professional in order to monitor and assess their physical health. Possible reasons for turning to the internet include high medical costs and busy lifestyles, according to the survey.
The report says women are more likely to self-diagnose, with 36 percent saying they use home remedies for treatment. Only 29 percent of men said the same.
One in five parents also admitted they check their children’s symptoms online before making a visit to the pediatrician.
But using the internet for diagnosing your maladies leads to problems of its own. According to the survey, 15 percent of respondents reported giving themselves anxiety — also known as “cyberchondria” — from checking their symptoms online.
“The internet is a fantastic source of medical information, but in the hands of patients who have trouble handling uncertainty, it can be endangering,” a spokesperson for the law firm said in a news release. “If you have symptoms, don’t put off going to the doctor because you have consulted the internet — it’s always best practice to seek a professional diagnosis.”
If you think Ohio’s percentage of internet medical sleuths seems high, at least the Buckeye State isn’t as bad as Arkansas. According to the report, 83 percent of respondents from the state said they look online for diagnoses as opposed to a doctor. On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 13 percent of respondents from Oregon said they’d turn to the internet for medical advice.
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