The Most Googled Ailments, By Region
When it comes to amateur diagnoses, the internet has been both a blessing and a curse: Googling symptoms has become as much of a habit as checking your local weather. According to Sunbelt Staffing, a healthcare job placement company, different parts of the country have different curiosities when it comes to their ailments.
The company used Google Trends to identify which health-related keywords were most often used in different regions. People living in Columbus, Ohio, had a higher number of queries for the terms “depression” and “stress” than the norm; Detroit seemed most concerned about “flu”; “asthma” was pinged often by residents of Louisville, Kentucky, which ranks among the most polluted cities in the country.
Some other notable top searches:
Dandruff: San Jose, California
Athlete’s Foot: Atlanta, Georgia
Migraine: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Shin Splints: St. Louis, Missouri
Eczema: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Diarrhea and Ulcers: Nashville, Tennessee
As Men's Journal points out, the Google searches don't always line up with the Centers for Disease Control's regional data. This could mean that the results don't necessary indicate a higher prevalence of the searched-for condition, but could also point to a lack of resources. Columbus, for example, has a reported dearth of mental health professionals. People in that city suffering from depression and anxiety, therefore, could be turning to Google rather than therapists for advice on dealing with their symptoms.
Stanford University's Dr. David Rehkoph told Men's Journal that search engine results could help highlight these holes in healthcare availability. "This could help physicians and public health departments better plan resources and better target increasing awareness of issues that could have major impacts on health," he said.
[h/t Men’s Journal]