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Marisa Mackle: There's no cure for online misdiagnoses

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So does Google. Why visit a real doctor when you can google your symptoms and diagnose yourself?

Okay, you might come to the conclusion that you're dying but at least you'll have saved on the GP visit. I have to admit I'm a divil for looking up medical problems online. For myself and my baby. If one of us isn't dying in cypberspace the other always seems to be.

Of course there is no need for any of this madness. Both my sisters are doctors and could easily diagnose me if I asked them. It's so much easier to open my laptop to see what's wrong as I'm waiting for the kettle to boil. The sisters trained for years but sometimes I wonder why they bothered when I can simply diagnose myself online in minutes.

I write this all very much tongue in cheek by the way. Just in case anyone is wondering. But I have been known to worry myself senseless after googling a few choice medical concerns.

When I found out I was expecting I hadn't a clue that I might be pregnant. Ridiculous as it might sound, the thought never even entered my head. I was suffering from stomach cramps and fatigue. When I googled these symptoms and did a bit of online 'research' I was convinced within about an hour that I had either endometriosis or cancer.

Eventually I went to the GP. He sent me to St Vincent's for a scan where I was sure they would find a tumour. The next morning the doctor's receptionist requested I make my way urgently to his surgery. That's it, I thought. I'm dying.

When he announced my pregnancy it didn't sink in. All I could think about was the fact that I wasn't dying. Now me being a naughty girl I never attended any of my antenatal classes.

So when my waters broke I wasn't sure what that meant. As I was in a bit of pain I rushed to the computer and googled 'labour'. I self-diagnosed that yes indeed I was going to have a baby. I was delighted when two hours later I gave birth. I was becoming an expert at this medical stuff.

Then last winter I was convinced I had something wrong with my throat and ears. I spent a morning in Tallaght hospital undergoing tests. The verdict? I had a cold. I couldn't understand it. Google had convinced me I was going deaf!