Googling your symptoms is as unavoidable as it is unwise. We almost literally cannot help ourselves. I imagine there is a modern epidemic of reckless, panicky self-treatment based on really bad Internet-powered self-diagnosis — something I am acutely aware of every time I hit my magic “publish” button. (With great power…)
The Flemish government is acutely aware of it too, which is why they commissioned a couple of (hilarious) public service announcements about it, one that’s pure sketch comedy, and one about their clever delivery method: the clever monkeys used Google’s own advertising program to target people searching for common symptoms!
Confession: reading about many kinds of symptoms actually makes me swoon. I get dizzy and queasy. It’s not really a hypochondriac effect — I don’t really start worrying about having the symptoms. It’s more like the way some people can’t handle the sight of blood. I just can’t handle the idea of many symptoms.