When you have questions about health and medicine, where do you turn? Of course, your first line of defense should be a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or specialist. But at a time when the medical field is severely overburdened, and health services aren’t always affordable or accessible, we might have to rely on the resources that are available to us—and that includes the internet.
Unfortunately, finding reliable, trustworthy, and straightforward health information on the internet isn’t always easy. In this blog, we’ll present a few dos and don’ts for your online health information research.
Sites like WebMD often elicit common jokes about misdiagnoses, but this kind of research can cause real stress unnecessarily. When you’re searching for answers about your health, don’t choose a website that oversimplifies information while also making minor symptoms seem scary and potentially fatal. Not all online health information sources have your best interest at heart.
To make things worse, some medical information sites are often filled with ads and sponsored content. You may not even realize that a page is not-so-subtly selling you pharmaceutical solutions as you scroll. You might believe (understandably) that a site providing health information has your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
For reliable medical information, you can start by checking out the resources below:
Mayo Clinic's online health information comes from an online database offering comprehensive medical data on a vast range of diseases and conditions. Mayo Clinic is a trustworthy non-profit American medical research center with over 100 years of experience.
MedlinePlus is a good resource for all your wellness needs, with information sourced from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
As the leading agency in charge of American health and wellness, the CDC is always stocked with the latest updates and medical information.
The NIH is an excellent database full of scientific research and emerging evidence. It’s not always easy to read as it’s primarily intended for academics and professionals, but you can rest assured that the information is reliable.
When searching the web for medical information, it’s essential to understand where that data is coming from. For additional research, you can find more information and links on this MedlinePlus webpage or this helpful guide from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
No matter what answers you think you might have found, it’s vital to take your research to a trusted medical professional to get their experienced opinion and evaluation. Even if a website can be trusted to give you reliable information, that doesn’t mean it knows your body and its needs personally.
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