Google diagnosis

The power of Google is amazing. We use Google for everything – from searching a location on maps to helping us with our essays on scholar.

But the most dangerous thing we can use Google for is diagnosing ourselves.

As students, we don’t have much disposable income and our minds generally aren’t practical. If torn between a nagin and a doctors visit, a student will generally choose the latter option.

So, at times we depend on Doctor Google.

As an experiment, the following symptoms; sore throat, chesty cough and headache, were typed into Google.

The results that came up on the computer screen were enough to stress anyone out, they appeared as:
– Common cold
– Bronchitis
– Viral pharyngitis
– Pneumonia
– Pregnancy

The list goes from a regular cold, to something much more serious – oh my God I am pregnant. And because we are only human, we always presume that we are in the worst possible scenario.

Henceforth, we become stressed, lose sleep, our appetite decreases, and due to all of our self-inflicted worry, the symptoms can actually get worse.

The College View set up a poll on Facebook and asked 110 students to answer if they use Google to diagnose themselves.

21% answered that they use Google to diagnose themselves instead of going to the doctor.

42% answered that they use Google sometimes but the answers they find do worry them.

30% answered that they never use Google to search their symptoms as it isn’t worth the stress.

8% answered that they have misdiagnosed themselves.

One DCU student had a frightening experience of misdiagnosing himself on Google.

“One day I found a lump and I Googled it to see what it was. Cancer was the most common answer and I became really stressed about it. I kept thinking that I could have a cancerous lump.
It took me two weeks to drum up the courage to go to the doctor in DCU. It turned out to be a blocked pore. I put myself through so much stress because I used Google instead of going to a doctor.”

If you are ill or worried about something, talk to your GP and don’t depend on Google. We all know the period of time spent in the waiting room to see the doctor can feel like forever, but after all it’s cost-effective and it can save you from undue stress.

The DCU Health Centre is located in room CG13 of the Henry Grattan Building.

Fiona McGrath

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