INTRODUCTION: During sudden epidemics, the public needs access to timely and reliable information on disease symptoms and prevention. The aim of this study is to reveal the effect of social media in the field of health by evaluating the relationship between the information learned about the COVID-19 pandemic in Google Trend searches and pediatric emergency applications.
METHODS: The data were obtained from pediatric emergency visits in 20172020, covering the period from January 1 to May 31. The main study period aiming to analyze the relationship between pediatric emergency department visits and interest over time (IOT) was determined as January 1May 31, 2020. Visits to the pediatric emergency department and Google Trends search data were analyzed. The relationships between the urgency ranking determined according to the triage system applied in our hospital and the Google Trends search data were evaluated.
RESULTS: Until the first case of COVID was reported in Türkiye, it was observed that while the green zone patients were dominant in the visits to the pediatric emergency department, the yellow zone patients visits became dominant in the period after this date. A strong negative correlation was found between Google Trends search popularity and green zone (r=−0.0693, p<0.05, IQR=5.353). In our Google Trends analysis during the pandemic study period, as of March 11, 2020, which had the highest 100 IOT value, and as Google search trends increased, it was determined that the number of pediatric patients with non-COVID symptoms decreased and with COVID-like symptoms increased.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: People avoided unnecessary applications as a result of learning the transmission routes of COVID-19, the symptoms of the disease, morbid, and mortal results with the search term corona from the search engine. The use of social media data in the field of health information can prevent unrealistic emergencies in Türkiye and around the world.