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


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.

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.

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.

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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