Health Articles Online - What to Trust, and What to Ignore
For better or worse, the internet has become one of the top sources of information for people who have questions about health. Google and other search engines make it easy to find basic information about practically any health concern, but how good is the information out there? Are there any internet sources that we can trust to give accurate health information and advice? Or is it a mistake to trust web-based information at all? I'll weigh these issues and point you toward a few sources of legitimate health articles online. In any case, online health articles should only be used as starting points. They are useful to give us basic information about something that is ailing us, but there are limitations to what they can do. In the end, you should only allow a real, in-person doctor to give you diagnoses, and you should never rely on online advice for serious health issues. Mainly, health articles should be used as a tool to give you a little bit of background information to prepare you for a visit to your doctor. Who shouldn't we trust? There are several warning signs that we can use to determine that a health article is not to be trusted: Anonymous author: Legitimate articles should be written by either a real, named doctor or someone with experience in the health care field. Exceptions apply to articles posted on websites that are associated with real universities or are otherwise reputable. Poorly written articles: If a health article has poor grammar or spelling, of if it's so poorly organized that you can hardly tell what it's saying, don't trust it. It's obviously not written by someone who knows what they're talking about. Articles that try to sell you something: Legitimate medical information should have no ulterior motives. If you sense that a health article is trying to push a product, medication, or treatment method on you, don't trust it. Fortunately, most sites that want to sell you something aren't very good at hiding it. Who can we trust? Again, when it comes to serious ailments, diagnoses, and treatments, you should seek the advice of a real medical professional. However, when you're just looking for basic information to get started, there are some truly helpful and legitimate websites to place in your bookmarks folder. In most cases, you can trust any site that is affiliated with a government, a major university, or a reputable national or international health care organization whose publications are peer-reviewed. For example, there are Australian sites such as aushealthreview.com.au and the Department of Health and Ageing website (health.gov.au), as well as U.S.-based sites like mayoclinic.com and medlineplus.gov. One level down from those highly reputable sites, there are plenty of websites that enforce high editorial standards and which are reviewed either by health care professionals or by users. In fact, these websites can be even more useful in some ways, since they tend to offer a much broader range of health articles. Sure, take them with a grain of salt, but a little reading never hurt anyone.