In the UK, we’ve become no strangers to Googling our symptoms when feeling unwell. The people at Pharmacy2U, decided to find out what health searches were the most popular with so many people now turning to Dr Google to self-diagnose.
After analysing the self-diagnosing habits of people living in 10 of the UK’s major cities, it was clear that there are some health conditions that we’re much more concerned about than others as a nation, with an alarming 74,000 people searching for insomnia cures each month. Luckily, it’s possible to search for cures to many ailments on Google too. For example, “what are phoenix tears” may be a useful search term if looking to cure insomnia, as medicinal THC is often used to treat sleep problems.
Whilst it seems that getting a good night’s sleep is the biggest health concern and people still continue to search for insomnia symptoms, a slightly more embarrassing health problem came a close second. Using data from Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner, taken between February 2016-January 2017, they found that the second most popular problem to search online was diarrhoea, understandably people are more likely to self-medicate than leave the house when it comes to an upset stomach.
Peaks and Trends
Pharmacy2U conducted a study into 28 common health problems including chest pains, heart palpitations, tooth ache and more, then investigated when search peaks and trends occurred with different times of the year proving to have an impact on the health problems searched for.
Headaches reached a peak in March 2016, with sore throat cures the third most searched for complaint overall, with 40,500 searches around the Christmas period- a response to the cold weather and constant partying throughout the festive period perhaps? January also emerged as a peak time for health-related searches nationally.
Although insomnia was the most searched for health worry overall in the 9/10 of the cities studied, people in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds were more concerned with embarrassing diarrhoea issues than getting 40 winks with the gripes taking top spot. Chest pains and indigestion we’re also high on the list for people living in the Yorkshire city, with high temperatures much less of a concern.
The UK’s Online Search Phenomenon
In all the 10 cities, searches everyday health issues like indigestion, nausea and fatigue also came in the top 10 indicating people are looking for ways to quickly cure themselves than take a trip to the doctors. Phil Day, Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, commented on the results:
“The publics reluctances to visit a GP or Doctor when feeling under the weather is apparent and has resulted in a phenomenon of online searches.
“The UK public definitely isn’t shying away from turning to the web when it comes to diagnosing a health-related issue; and our research highlights this well”.
With medication for most of the common problems and sleep aids so easy to get hold of online at Pharmacy2U, it makes sense that so many people are choosing to turn to Google before venturing outdoors to treat their problems.