Even though we know it’s a dangerous move, likely to increase our fears rather than assuage them, many of us can’t help but Google our physical ailments in the hopes of figuring out what might be wrong with us before, or – in very inadvisable situations – instead of seeing a medical professional.
So, given that this is a common human behavior, aren’t you a little bit curious to know what bodily symptoms are most likely to send people frantically typing into search engines? The folks at MedicareHealthPlans, a company aimed at helping Americans understand their Medicare coverage options, have provided some answers.
Using an analysis of data from Google Trends, they have created a national map of each state’s top symptom queries, and the results are hilarious. But before you browse the findings and jump to conclusions about each region’s residents (we’re looking at you, Montana), take note that the just-for-fun infographic can only tell us what symptoms concern a large number of people in each state, not necessarily that a large number really have them.
Intestinal concerns are high. Considering that gastrointestinal issues are common (an estimated 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from some type of digestive disease) and often quite distressing, it’s not too surprising that residents of a number of states searched most for symptoms in this category. In Wyoming, Nevada, and Washington, "stomach ache" took the top spot; whereas in Alabama it was "acid reflux", "gas" in Mississippi, and "IBS symptoms" in North Dakota. States preoccupied with what the state of their fecal matter means were South Carolina, with "dark green stool" and "light colored poop" in Wisconsin.
According to MedicareHealthPlans, the most Googled term was stress. It took the top spot in one-fifth of states, including many in the populous East Coast cluster around the US capital, such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia, and Massachusetts. A recent study of federal health data showed that roughly 3.4 percent of the US population have serious psychological distress.
Nasal congestion was the predominant concern in six states, including Texas and Florida.
Setting themselves apart from the crowd, several states had quite unique top searches. The massive population of Californians, for example, wanted to know why they might have "sweaty palms", whereas people in Ohio are bothered by "paleness". Oklahomans are worried about "flu symptoms 2018", New Mexico is worried about "flem", and Idaho wants to know about "E. coli symptoms" – a logical trend following the recent outbreak in that state.
New York has surprised no one with "loss of sleep" (Colorado and North Carolina's top as well), but little Rhode Island and New Jersey have us curious with their top search of "lucid dreams".
Finally, we’ll leave you with the real head-scratcher: People in Indiana wanted to know more about "uncircumcised problems".