On Internet Medicine

… What can I say, I’ve been travelling and graduating and stressing out for the past couple weeks.

Anyway, the just-noticeable-enough-to-be-annoying headache is back this evening, perhaps in part because I got more sun and exercise than I have all year it seems.  So I thought I’d check online to see what possible causes might be – sun overexposure, stress, drinking coffee again – and then it occurred to me that, particularly when Lucy starting showing her age, I’ve been using Internet sites (“official” and otherwise) as a kind of iDiagnose system.  Yes that’s a Mac reference, but it seems to work.  Sure self-diagnosis isn’t reliable, and certainly gives hypochondriacs a lot more to think they have and to worry about, but it’s not bad for little stuff.  It’s almost like a throwback to “folk remedies” – or not so much a throwback, but a new form of distribution (as many of these classic so-called “folk remedies” may be found on websites, as well as a number of probably new ones) of non-professional medicine.

This isn’t to say that we’re going back to the travelling snake-oil salesman and the old healer down the street, but I wonder how much more common it is for people to use the Internet as a main source of casual diagnoses?  That is, a sprain or a headache or something not requiring emergency and/or professional care.  Or maybe even for some of that.  Sure it’s no replacement for good health insurance (speaking in part as someone who no longer has it) but at least it’s an affirmation that someone out there probably has the same thing as you.

Speaking of no insurance, I just have to throw in another Generation X quote:

Poorochondria:  Hypochondria derived from not having medical insurance.

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1 comment so far

  1. Anitra on

    The very first time I met Dr. Cort, he told me that most headaches were caused by dehydration and that I should drink plenty of water. I don’t know why he told me this. I didn’t have a headache. Anyway, it seems to work, so you may have just been dehydrated.

    I think I rely too much on Dr. Cort. iCort?


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