Are You A Cyberchondriac Too?


Getty ImagesHantavirus. Flesh-eating disease. Rabies.

Name an incredibly rare, swiftly fatal disease, and Ive had it—at least in my head, between 1 and 4 a.m., when even the urgent care center that could possibly reassure me that I didnt was closed.

Ive never had Ebola, but thats only because its hard to imagine you may be slightly hemorrhaging from your eyeballs. Either you are or you arent, which makes Ebola one of my favorite diseases. Instead, I have a particular fondness for fatal diseases that share almost every symptom with a bad day at work:

  • Exhaustion
  • Mental confusion
  • Inability to tolerate bright lights

I suspect Im not the only one. Heres my quick quiz to see if you too are a cyberchondriac:

  1. When you wake up with a crick in your neck, you google meningitis.
  2. Youve been on drug-resistant TB alert ever since that dumb guy got on the plane.
  3. You knew when Sanjay Gupta visited that swine flu–infested Mexican hospital he'd come back with it. You had the sudden urge to scream—horror-movie-style—at the TV: Nooooo, Sanjay! Dont. Go. Into. The. Stairwell!

Some (like, say, my husband, or that Oxford hotline nurse who took my hantavirus-scare call after my cat dropped a mouse on my face) would say Im crazy. I think Im a proactive patient. Is anyone with me?