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The top 10 trending health issues of 2013 have been released by Google, and top of the list of searches are flu and cold, with labor coming in at third place.
The results are found in the year-end zeitgeist, the search giant's annual "spirit of the times" analysis.
The appearance of the term labor as a highly popular search in the health issues list comes as "royal baby" made it to seventh place in the total Google search activity across 2013, a chart topped by "Nelson Mandela."
It was July 22nd when the world's media heard the news that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, had delivered a healthy Prince George.
The complete Google top 10 of health searches in 2013:
It may not be a surprise that the two most common conditions regularly affecting all of us should be at the very top of the 2013 list, yet searches against the terms "flu" and "cold" did not make it to the top 10 of health-related enquiries the year before.
Nor did these two appear among 2012's hottest topics as measured by the "trending" top-10, a list of the terms that saw the greatest increases in levels of interest.
Last year, the stats looked like this - 2012 most searched health issues:
And the 2012 trending health issues were:
"Flu" did, however, squeeze onto the list of more specific medical searches including the term "symptoms" - the 2012 most-searched symptoms were:
Flu is a worldwide viral phenomenon that is tracked by doctors' reports and laboratory tests. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contributes to the World Health Organization's (WHO) flu surveillance program.
For example, the CDC publishes a map of flu as it affects individual states week by week.
Looking for information about flu using search engines tends to mirror the activity of the virus as it spreads as an epidemic within countries, something Google monitors specifically as a measure of the disease. It uses search data to "estimate current flu activity around the world in near real-time."
Medical News Today recently took a closer look at what 2013 delivered in the fascinating world of health, medicine and scientific research in the review of 2013.
Written by Markus MacGill
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
2013 in search: heroes, tragedies and the Harlem Shake. Google's blog entry about its 2013 zeitgeist, published online December 17th, 2013.
Google zeitgeist 2012 (PDF of data lists, including top US health searches on p118).
Visit our Flu / Cold / SARS category page for the latest news on this subject.
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MacGill, Markus. "Flu and cold top the 2013 chart of medical search terms." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 23 Dec. 2013. Web.
8 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270595>
MacGill, M. (2013, December 23). "Flu and cold top the 2013 chart of medical search terms." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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