We’ve all done it, you have pain or a symptom that you’re concerned about and the easiest resource to go to is at your fingertips- Dr. Google. The internet has so much information it’s difficult to know what to trust.
What websites can you trust?
- Sites that end in .gov like cdc.gov or cancer.gov. These are linked to federal agencies that address research and training needs for health care topics.
- Non-profit sites that end in .org like familydoctor.org are often powered by a reputable organization, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, so you know your source is credible.
- Websites from trusted medical institutions, like Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, have detailed information about many health conditions, symptoms, treatment options and more.
- Look for the HON code symbol at the bottom of the website which means the website has been certified for its credibility by the Health On the Net Foundation, a non-governmental organization that certifies health and medical websites.
Red flags to look for:
- Websites that are not authoritative sources and don’t cite their facts
- One-sided, biased or outdated information
- Claims of a miracle or secret cure based on testimonials
If you have a medical concern, the internet can provide useful background information to help you make informed decisions, but always consult a physician to be diagnosed. Don’t base your medical decisions solely on what you find online or what friends tell you.
Talk to your physician before making any changes to your medications or treatment.
Source: UCF College of Medicine