How to Be Sure the Medical Websites You’re Using are Reputable
Have you ever gone online to look up medical information on symptoms you’re experiencing only to end up convinced that your sore throat is actually some rare disease or form of cancer?
If you answered yes – don’t worry, you’re not alone.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than a third of adults in the U.S. have gone online to diagnose a medical condition of their own or that of a friend or loved one. After all, the internet has made information gathering super quick and incredibly convenient – it seems almost silly to not take advantage of having access to all of this knowledge that is right at your fingertips.
We are here for you
At The Christian Village at Mason, our professional and dedicated staff is always here to answer your questions and address your concerns, when needed. However, we understand that sometimes you just want to get a little more information on your own. We want to help you do it safely.
With over 15,000 health-related websites in existence, stumbling upon anxiety-inducing misinformation is pretty common. However, there are simple precautions you can take to verify that the medical website you’re visiting is legitimate.
How to verify
- As a general rule, health and medical information websites that are sponsored by the U.S. government, not-for-profit health or medical organizations, and university medical centers are the most reliable online resources
- Sites supported by for-profit companies, such as drug or insurance companies who may be trying to sell you their products, may offer a biased option
- Click the “About Us” tab on a website’s homepage to find out who’s sponsoring the site and from where the information is coming
- Look for the “HONcode” seal at the bottom of each page, which means the site has credible information and is certified by the Health On the Net Foundation. However, government-sponsored health sites do not have this seal
These are sites dedicated to specific diseases and conditions:
- Cancer: National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and Cancer Care
- Heart disease: American Heart Association, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Congenital Heart Information Network
- Diabetes: American Diabetes Association, National Diabetes Education Program, Diabetes Monitor and joslin.harvard.edu
- Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s Association, Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and Alzheimers.gov
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