Today almost about anything can be found online, and some sites have become a rabbit hole of information, but when it comes to medical, one must be aware of how this information was obtained and by whom. It’s as easy as typing something into the Google search bar. Many times internet users will find a forum that discusses ailments of sorts, while they themselves have been experiencing similar symptoms, or better yet they just plug in to the symptom checker. So is all this readily medical information good for you? With a variety of websites, blogs and groups to choose from, one must remain very cautious, as like anything else… many will prey on the internet to use your information, sell products or push another agenda on the site you’re surfing.
People everywhere like to talk about themselves when it comes to personal or medical problems; they need a lending ear or voice of reason. There are many health-forums which are used as a tool in order to crowdsource a diagnosis, based on individuals’ symptoms, but are not always the correct answer. When looking for these types of conversations online you must always check the dates that it was posted on. Many times they originated from past years and with new technology it may not pertain to the current medical issues at hand. You should stay within a 2-3 year range online. Also, if using the symptom checker it usually gives you a spectrum of possibilities when it comes to diagnosis, but that’s all. It is there so it may help you understand the possible problem while guiding you to determine whether you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible or not.
Obtaining reputable information online should be used with caution. Always check with who is funding the collection of info as well as the web addresses. The web address should always end with .gov, .org and .Edu for the best resources. The Mayo Clinic however does use .com and is rated one of the best sites, but make sure it is just that. Medlineplus.gov is managed by the National Library of Medicine and provides information for an abundant of topics such as; healthcare providers, hospitals, a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, including links to even more trusted sites. What I found fascinating was the health-site for seniors at www.nihseniorhealth.gov which provides specific info for age-related topics. For other topics like specific diseases, you may go directly to the subject when searching, example being; www.cancer.org , www.cancer.gov , www.americanheart.org , www.diabetes.org , www.alzheimers.gov and so on. The Library of Medicine is the best place to start if you are in the need of information. It offers a tutorial on evaluating Internet Health Information, along with how to find quality resources and learning how to spot a trusted site. With so many phishing scams online this is where everyone should begin. I hope you have gained some insight with finding what’s right for you. Beware of health scams and don’t give out all of your pertinent personal information, leave that for the physician you visit in person.
Make your week count.