Online Information

The Internet can be a great source of health and medical information if you use it wisely. Always use common sense and caution when online. Search trusted websites and even then be a skeptic: Don’t believe everything you read. Ask your doctor before taking any actions about your health.

Take your time. Online research can take longer than you would expect. If you search too quickly, you can end up with wrong or misunderstood information.

Use search words that are specific. For example, type “lung cancer woman” instead of  “cancer.” If you don’t have any luck finding the information you are looking for, ask a librarian to help you or someone you know who is familiar with online searches.

Use reliable websites. These are often ones that end in “.gov” for government, “.org” for nonprofit organizations, and “.edu” for medical schools and colleges. If you use a “.com” website, go to the “about” section to see if the sponsor has a financial stake in the information.

Rely on many sources. Check several trusted websites to see if the information is repeated, and see what sources these sites are using.

Be a skeptic: Any site that makes claims that are too good to be true, probably is.

The internet is not your doctor: Talk to your doctor about any information you find online. If she doesn’t want to talk about what you’ve learned, go search for a new doctor.