How Reliable are Health Tips from Online Sources?

Wendy Stokesby:


How many times did you catch yourselves googling some symptoms so you can see what is the reason for them and how they can be cured? Recently conducted researches proved that older people are googling their symptoms far more than the younger population. That is only natural, isn’t it? There are countless medical websites who are providing some answers to this type of question.

Some of them will provide information which is reliable, and some of them will not. Choosing the right ones is an important step in equipping yourself with reliable information and finding the right source of your symptoms.

Source: Healthcare

Where Reliable Information About Health Can be Found?

For starters, the first website you should check out is the website of National Institutes of Health. Most certainly, this is a good place to start acquiring information. Besides this one, you should look for websites that are sponsored by the Federal government.

Plus, you can take a look at the website of medical schools and big professional organizations. And last but not least, they can be found on the forums, where you can learn about the first-hand experience from people. For example, you can take a look at this online pharmacy forum. This is the source of much reliable health information.

What You Should Ask Before Trusting the Website?

When googling, there is a high possibility of you stumbling into websites that are not sponsored by the government or are sponsored by organizations that are not known. We will provide you with a list of questions you should ask before you start trusting a certain website. You should have in mind that most answers for these questions can be found on the section called About us, at any website.

Source: Vanguard Communications

Who is Hosting/Sponsoring the Website?

Creating, editing, and updating websites requires money. The first thing you should ask is who is the sponsor of a particular website. If you find any information about the sponsor, you will find out about the goals of the website. In some times, seeing an URL of the website can tell you much about it. For example:

  • .org – identifies as a website who is funded by an organization, profit or non-profit.
  • .gov – this means that the website is funded or sponsored by the government.
  • .com – identifies as commercial websites.
  • .edu – sponsored by a school, university, college, or any other educational institution.

Source: Emerge Education

Who Was the Author of the Information and Who Reviewed it?

In most cases, the identification of contributors and authors is not a problem. Usually, you can see who they are. If you see a name of the person who wrote that article, you should do more thorough research in order to find out if that person is an expert in that field, or does this person works in an organization that is credible.

The next question is, was that article reviewed by someone who is an expert in that field? It all comes to the research, and if some information proves to be credible, all the better. The websites with credible content will usually provide you with an email address or some other type of contact. In cases when you don`t have the name of the author displayed, you shouldn`t take the risk of seeing this information as credible.

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