Where To Find Accurate Health Information Online

Image of Kids Searching Internet

People are highly curious by nature.  We ask a lot of questions.  We use numerous search engines, search tools, and can’t part with our smartphones because we “need” to retrieve information on the fly.

But where is the information you gather coming from?  How do you know what you’re getting isn’t a series of half-truths or misinformation from shaky sources?

Particularly, what should those of you do when seeking information or advice on the health-related front?  If you’ve already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (or other) and you want to learn more on your own where should you go?

Tips For Your Health Information Search

There are number of items for your checklist when considering any news source.  When it comes to your health you should pay even closer attention.  It isn’t as cut-and-dry as going to Google and clicking on your first result.

Use common sense; you know that you can’t believe everything you read out there.

Things to consider:

1. the source
Who wrote the article?  What are their credentials?  Did the information they quoted come from a reliable source? Is the source clearly mentioned in the article?

2. age of information
How far back does the information date?  There are new findings in health diagnoses and treatment all the time so make sure that the information you’re reading is recent.  Also, it would help if the information has been recently reviewed by a reputable source.

3. what does your personal physician advise?
Before you accredit yourself with a medical degree based on the ten articles you read this morning; print one or two out.  Take the articles and their source information to your personal physician.  What he/she knows about you specifically may validate or refute any of your findings online.

OK, but how about some “where to find…” pointers?  Well here are a few links to get you started if you are curious about finding health information on the internet:

NLM and NIH Supported Information
http://medlineplus.gov

This site is backed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Here you will find information on over 600 conditions and diseases.

Searching  Scientific and Medical Publications
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/

PubMed is a resource that pulls information from over 4,600 journals of scientific and medical origin.  This service is the National Institute of Health’s searchable database.

Evaluating Health Information Online
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/evaluatinghealthinformation.html

What you’ll find here is MEDLINEplus posted tutorials on assessing the accuracy of health information you find on the net.  It is affiliated with the NIH.

Final Thoughts

Do your due diligence when researching health information online. Examine the source(s) of your health news, age of the information, and consult your personal physician if/when you find conflicting information or advice.

What are your thoughts and have you ever printed an article to discuss with your doctor?


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