The Internet: mother of medical paranoia

There are lots of things I should stop doing. Somewhere near the top of that list is stop reading medical information online. That’s a guaranteed way to begin worrying about all the things that could possibly happen to me, no matter how unlikely. That ache could be a deadly disease…or it could be a sign that my toe still hurts after stubbing it.

This problem didn’t begin with the Internet for me. I started reading the medical books at my grandmother’s house when I was a kid and was amazed at all the strange diseases out there. I’d look up a common symptom like fever and see that it could be strep throat or pneumonia. Knowing how unlikely some of those diseases are definitely helps reduce the worry that I’m going to die because of a fever.

Unfortunately the Internet makes it even easier to get all that information and in even greater depth. You can find everything you ever wanted to know about a drug and its side effects, even the ones that almost no one experiences. If anything makes you paranoid while taking a medication, even if it’s just for a cold, it’s this.

But how many people actually read those side effects, anyway?

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