Search Menu

Self-Diagnosing With the Magic of the Internet

Self-Diagnosing With the Magic of the Internet

When your SparkEds and SparkWriters were young (you know we're all 63, right? Just kidding—we're actually 200-year-old teenage vampires), self-diagnosing an illness meant showing it to your best friend, who declared it cooties, or your mom, whose catch-all diagnosis was "allergies." One way or another, we all ended up covered head-to-toe in calamine lotion.

These days, however, self-diagnosing has been made much scarier easier with the help of medical websites like WebMD. Who needs eight years of school and a piece of paper in Latin anymore? Now, with the click of a button, you can know exactly what's wrong with you! We think this whole health care debacle debate here in the U.S. could have been solved by issuing laptops to every man, woman, and child. Oprah could have made it happen. (You get a laptop! And you get a laptop!)

If you're anything like us, though, hitting the internet for a WebMD check-up can make you a little crazy. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have found more than one visit a month to these websites is a risk factor for elevated heart rate and night sweats. (Only kidding.) Just because you have a cough doesn't mean you have The Consumption. Before you freak, check this list of common misdiagnoses:

Symptom: Swollen ankle.

Misdiagnosis: Elephantiasis.

More likely ailment: It's a sprain. Ice and elevate.

Symptom: You found a gray hair.

Misdiagnosis: Progeria.

More likely ailment: You have a gray hair.

Symptom: An increase in body hair.

Misdiagnosis: Hypertrichosis.

More likely ailment: You are Jacob Black. (Also, puberty.)

Symptom: Your lips are blue.

Misdiagnosis: Methemoglobinemia.

More likely ailment: You're cold. Or you just ate a Blue Razzberry Blow Pop. Or you are a Smurf. Or you are a Na'vi.

Symptom: Sun rash.

Misdiagnosis: Solar Urticaria.

More likely ailment: Sunburn. You're a vampire. You're goth.

Symptom: Spot on your chest.

Misdiagnosis: Supernumerary nipple.

More likely ailment: A mole.

Have you self-diagnosed lately?

Related post: 50 Ways to Spend Your Sick Day

Topics: Entertainment, Celebs & Stuff
Tags: illness, scary things, sickness, webmd, diseases

Write your own comment!

About the Author

Kathryn Williams is the author of three YA novels but only one with an Oxford comma in the title. She is a Taurus and hates writing bios. Check out her website,, and follow her on Twitter @kathrynwauthor.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email