Alarm as Kenyans now turn to google for diagnosis

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Kenya doctors are of late dealing with the internet craze where majority of their patients are turning their attention to google for diagnosis before being diagnosed by a medical doctor.

The craze has gained traction and it has become quite difficult to treat a patient who is skeptical about the doctor’s diagnosis because they suffer from Cyberchondria which is medical anxiety after researching your own symptoms.

Defined as cyberchondriacs – people who compulsively search the Internet for information about real or imagined symptoms of illness, reports the Standard, Kenyans are among millions of other people in the world who have picked up this trend.

Dr Alex Muturi, a surgeon in Tigoni Hospital in Kiambu County says the craze is real.

“Getting medical information from the Internet is not wrong. The problem comes when people do it before getting diagnosis from a doctor,” he states according to the Standard.

He adds that the searches on the internet should only be made when a patient is diagnosed by a doctor.

“Internet searches should be done to know more about a condition – and they should only be done after consulting a doctor and getting a proper diagnosis.”

Head of the health promotion unit at Ministry of Health, Dr Sammy Mahugu cautions what he terms as ‘web patients’ from seeking diagnosis on the web because it escalates cases of wrong self-medication.

“It is through such self-diagnosis that we get people reacting to medication, or developing a resistance.”

A Nairobi-based counselor Rose Gakii says over time, she has had to deal with paranoid patients who get wrong diagnosis from the internet.

“The Internet can make you paranoid, especially if you land on the wrong site,” she says.