Share this page:
Follow Choice on Social Media:
Get the most out of life


Online health: Click or Curse?

The internet has given us unprecedented access to health information. But is that a good thing? David Hughes reports

I’m lucky to have finished this article. I mean, considering I have Yellow Fever. The internet alerted me, when I googled in my symptoms of muscle soreness and headache.

They’ve worn off, but the website warns that in Stage Two of the disease, “fever and other symptoms go away.” So there we are. I’m putting my affairs in order, prior to heart, liver and kidney problems.


While the internet can be a valuable source of information about our health, it has also enabled countless people to worry about diseases they didn’t know existed a few years ago. While most people use the internet – in health terms – to 46 help make informed decisions, those prone to hypochondria (not me, obviously) are more likely to find it a source of worry, a phenomenon popularly known as cyberchondria.

The pre-digital condition hypochondria is defined as being anxious about an imagined illness, with exaggerations of symptoms. It can last up to six months, and affects men and women equally.

Arthur Barsky MD, of Harvard Medical School, author of Worried Sick: Our Troubled Quest for Wellness says sufferers are “absolutely not fakers or malingerers. They really feel the distress they’re talking about. It’s just that their feelings don’t have an obvious medical basis.”

To such people, the internet can be a source of potential worry. “A lot of the stuff on the internet, especially on health-related bullet boards, is pure impression and anecdote, and they don’t have a lot of scientific validity,” says Barsky – on one of the reputable sites, WebMD.

Click here to continue reading the full article

What do you thinnk to online health information? It is good or bad?

Let us know what you think and share your experiences with us and others. Just follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, Instagram and YouTube

Current Issue

Choice May 2022

Profile: Delia Smith

Enjoy Britain: Edinburgh

Discoveries: USA – The Carolinas

Treasures: Weald & Download Living Museum, home of The Repair Shop

• Music helping with memory loss
• Functional medicine
• A Yoga exercise to try

Beauty: Foaming beauty products

Looking Back: 50-year secrets of Spaghetti Junction

The dawn of the jet age

Organise a Big Lunch for the Platinum Jubilee

Plus: Craft & sewing projects, food & drink, garden news, garden birdwatch, puzzles pages, book, DVD and CD reviews.