(MERCURYNEWS) — Got a rash? Google it. Aches and pains? Better look online.
If you turn to the web to answer your pressing health problems — or at least to find out more information — you’re not alone. More than a third of American adults use the Internet to diagnose themselves or family members, Health Online 2013, a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds.
Among Internet users (more than 80 percent of the population), self-diagnosers are more common — around 59 percent of online Americans.
The data also examined peer-to-peer relationships online, lead researcher Susannah Fox says. “Sixteen percent of Internet users have gone online to find someone who shares their same health condition,” she says. “People are finding utility and information in what can be shared online, outside of a clinical encounter [with a physician].”