Nowadays, practically anyone can post an article online. You don’t even have to have a blog or a website to publish something. All you have to do is join an online community that accepts user contributions, and you’re good to go. This is why you should never believe everything that you read online, especially if the topic is related to health.
There are a lot of health-related sites all over the Internet. While some of them are legit ones, there are those that feature mostly myths or wrong information. Websites that pretend to give you the information you need are what you should avoid because, first off, health-related issues are not things that you can easily brush aside. These are important matters that can affect a person’s life. Getting wrong information from a bogus site is definitely not the right way to deal with such issues.
Tips for Choosing Trustworthy Online Health Guides
To avoid being trapped by bogus health-related sites, here are tips that can help you find trustworthy online health guides.
1. The first thing you should do is ask questions.
Ask questions that will help you determine where the website gets all the information it posts. A reliable health-related website will not hesitate to provide details about their sources. Some questions you should ask are:
-Who is/are your source/s for all the information in your site?
-If the information is not provided by a health care or medical professional, ask this: Are all the information contained in your website reviewed or seconded by a physician or doctor?
-In case an article or post shows statistics or numbers: Where did you get these statistics? Was a survey or study conducted for this?
These questions should be addressed to the person or organization/group running and managing the website or blog.
2. Read through the website thoroughly.
Find time to read through the contents of the website carefully as this will help you determine whether or not the information you are getting is more of an opinion than a fact. If the article comes off as an opinion, try to determine whose opinion it is. Did it come from a reliable source? A professional medical expert or a doctor, perhaps?
3. Try to determine how current the information contained in the website it.
While going through the website, find a way to determine how current all the health-related information it contains is. The healthcare industry is constantly changing, and developments happen every now and then. If the website is not up-to-date, all the information it is providing will not be of help to anyone.
There are articles or posts that indicated the date they were written and posted, but there are others that do not. If an article was posted three or four months ago, try to determine if it has been reviewed and updated in the past weeks.
4. Check the About Us page of the website.
Look for the About Us page of the website and read through it. This will give you an idea of who is or are behind the website. Additionally, this will somehow provide information about the person/s or organization/s responsible for gathering and posting all the content posted on the site. Likewise, the About Us page will tell you if the site owners and managers are professionally trained and equipped to share health-related information (and advice) or not.
Some health-related websites are published by a medical organization or group. There are also those that are managed by a non-profit organization (.org), an educational institution (.edu), or by the US government (.gov). Some health-related websites are maintained and published by doctors or a group of doctors.
5. Check the objectivity of the website.
What kind of information does the website contain? Does it provide information showing several points of view? Or is it biased to just one side? Is the content, in some way, intended to market, promote, or sell a particular product or medical service? Be wary of health-related websites like this. Also, do not trust websites that use capital letters and a lot of exclamation marks. Likewise, avoid health-related websites that promise miracle cures or 24-hour treatments. Natural health guides do not take just one side or promote any product. It does not promise you miracle treatments.
6. Does the website offer complete information?
A reliable online health guide offers comprehensive and up-to-date information. One or two paragraphs about an important health issue are not enough. A detailed discussion is always the norm. Beware of online health guides or health-related websites that contain only one sentence or one paragraph discussions about relevant matters.