Google, my child has a rare condition The Internet can be a wonderful platform for research, support and sharing, and parents of children with rare conditions are increasingly using the
How to find online health resources that you can trust
In the internet age we live in, people conduct millions of searches every day for health information. But when it comes to the important issues of our health, how do we know that we’re finding accurate information and following appropriate advice. Some health sites are reliable and helpful but others are not. So how can we identify which category a particular site falls into?
Here are five aspects to check to before taking advice from any health-related site.
- What is the site source?The website extension at the end of the site’s URL can tell you about the source of the information. The most reliable of these are:
- .org – which indicates a non-profit organisation or group
- .edu – academic institutions or university
- .gov – government agency
- What credentials does the site have?Read the ‘About Us’ page on the site to check that certified health professional (doctors, nurses, researchers, etc.) manage the site’s information.
- Who runs the site?
- What are their credentials?
- What is the site’s review policy?
- Is the site accredited?
- Can the site managers be contacted?
- Check the datesAre the articles and information up-to-date? Health facts can change quickly so credible sites need to review their information regularly.
- What claims does the site make?
- Does it sound too good to be true?
- Be wary of words such as ‘quick fix’ and ‘miracle’
- Look for lists of references or resources
- What is the site’s purpose?Look for websites intended to inform, rather than to sell you something. Be very wary of sites that sell particular health medicines as they may not have the most objective sources of information.
There is a lot of helpful health information out there that can give you the answers you need about your health and wellness. But, like anything on the Internet, it’s always best to approach any of the websites with skepticism and savvy in order to find reliable and credible health advice.