Health and fitness is one of the most popular subjects on the Internet. Whether you’re trying to find out how much exercise you need each day, how many vegetables you should eat in a week, or what’s causing your unsightly rash, you’re bound to find millions of sources all claiming to be an authority with a reliable answer to your question.
The trouble is, there’s no screening process for the Internet, and anyone can make any claim that they want, regardless of truth or accuracy. This can make it difficult to find reliable health information online. Someone could write an article and sign their name as Dr. So and So, but they might be a doctor in the same way that Dr. Pepper is a doctor.
However you can find good reliable health information online, you just have to know what to look for. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to find reliable health information online.
- Articles that provide sources. Never assume that what you’re reading on a “.com” is accurate. Look for claims that have been supported and make sure that the resources are credible.
- Government websites. The National Library of Medicine website is going to provide accurate and reliable health information. Websites ending in “.gov” are reliable.
- Trusted health organizations. For example, if you want to find information about heart disease, the American Heart Association website is a good place to start. You can trust that the information on that site will be sound. Websites ending in “.org” are typically reliable.
- Information that is up to date. Surveys, statistics, and other information that was accurate a decade ago might not be accurate today. Make sure that the information you’re reading is current.
- Most medical websites. Information on most medical websites, including Mana.md, is screened by doctors and physicians for accuracy to ensure that the information is reliable.
The Internet shouldn’t be your only source of information for something as important as your health and wellness. You should meet with your primary care physician on a regular basis. Doctors have years of schooling and experience that can’t be replaced by a web search and a 5-minute read.