May 20, 2017

Searching online for health-related information by people suffering from respiratory allergy and asthma: the results of a survey study

Anna Kłak, Filip Raciborski, Bolesław Samoliński

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:
The objective of the study was to compare online behaviour in groups of persons suffering from respiratory allergy and/or asthma and in the reference group.


MATERIAL AND METHODS:
Comparative analysis of two independent questionnaire studies. Study A was carried out in the Masovian Voivodeship, Poland in 2013. As many as 1,728 questionnaires were collected and 51 respondents were selected for analysis (study A, reference group). Study B was carried out in 2014 in a group of 59 patients of the outpatient allergy clinic.

RESULTS:
More than 92% of the general population (study A) declared that they used the Internet to search for health-related information, health protection, while in the group of patients (study B) the same was declared by 97%. Both studies showed that more than 74% of respondents looked for online information on a specific disease (p > 0.05). Information on how other persons cope with similar health issues was searched by 20% (study A) and 33% (study B) of respondents. Advice on different methods of treatment of a given disease was sought by 40% and 51% of respondents, respectively. Nearly 51% of respondents in study A and 56% of subjects in study B searched online for health information when they did not feel well or were sick.

CONCLUSIONS:
Both in the group of chronically ill persons and in the reference group, it is common to search online for health- -related information. Persons suffering from respiratory allergy and/or asthma verified the physician’s diagnosis on the Internet much more often than did the reference group.

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