Finding Health Information on the Internet
The Internet can be a great source of health and medical information if you use it wisely. Always use common sense and caution using the Internet. Search trusted web sites and even then be a skeptic: Don’t believe everything you read. Always consult your doctor/care provider before taking any actions about your health.
- Give yourself time to do your research online as it can often take longer than you would expect to find helpful sites, read the information carefully, and understand it. If you search too quickly, you can end up with wrong or misunderstood information
- When you type in your search words, make them as specific as possible. For example, type “Lung cancer women” 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 web sites, often these are 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” sections to see if the sponsor has a financial stake in the information
- Rely on many sources. Check several trusted websites to see if the fact or information is repeated
- If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Beware of sites making claims about curing your illness or having a “secret ingredient” or helping you live to 100.