Researching symptoms online

New research commissioned by has revealed over a third of Brits go online to find information on their symptoms before going to a healthcare professional.

The survey of 2,000 people across the UK showed that in total, 69% of Brits went online in the last 12 months to search for information on medical symptoms. Together they spent a total of 231 million hours* researching information about medical conditions.

Embarrassing symptoms were the most common health topics searched for, and it was revealed. The research showed women (47%) are more likely to go online than men (38%) to look for information around these kinds of symptoms.

Amongst the most common reasons given by people for going online for medical information was that the process is ‘fast, easy and convenient’ (47%), while nearly a third of those polled (31%) said that internet research was less embarrassing than talking to other people (31%). Almost a quarter (24%) said that they felt more confident visiting their healthcare professional after searching for information online on symptoms

Nearly half (47%) of Brits said they are more likely to visit a health information website to look up symptoms if the content has been medically reviewed.

Once people have searched for their symptoms online a fifth (20%) said they were able to ask their healthcare professional more informed questions, while over a third (38%) made an appointment to visit a healthcare professional within a week.

The survey revealed that people in the UK are also looking for information on symptoms for their loved ones, with 37% searching for their children, 31% for their partner and 26% searching for their parents. Women are twice as likely (20%) to search for health symptoms online for their children (under 18 years old) compared to men (11%).

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