[10/5/21] When you have questions about health and medicine, where do you turn? Of course, your first line of defense should be a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or specialist. But at a time when the medical field is severely overburdened and health services aren’t always affordable or accessible, we have to rely on the resources that are available to us—and that includes the internet.
Unfortunately, finding reliable, trustworthy, and straightforward health information on the internet isn’t always easy.
The Problem with Sites Like WebMD
Sometimes it’s a simple case of misdirected self-diagnosis: a man enters his flu-like symptoms into the WebMD symptoms searcher and suddenly worries he has a brain tumor. The WebMD misdiagnosis may be a common joke, but it can cause real stress unnecessarily. Websites like WebMD sometimes oversimplify information while also relaying it in a way that makes minor symptoms seem scary and potentially fatal.
As you can imagine, medically trained doctors are concerned with the trend of digital self-diagnosis. Some websitesdisregard the facts entirely, touting themselves as health experts while peddling demonstrably false data and miracle treatments. This kind of medical misinformation has been especially prevalent since the rise of COVID-19.
To make things worse, medical information sites are often filled with ads and sponsored content. You may not even realize that a page is not-so-subtly selling you pharmaceutical solutions as you scroll. You might believe (understandably) that a site providing health information has your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Where to Look
For more reliable medical information, you can start by checking out the resources below—but remember to always discuss concerns with a doctor you trust.
This online database offers extensive and comprehensive medical data on a vast range of diseases/conditions. Mayo Clinic is a trustworthy non-profit American medical research center with over 100 years of experience.
MedlinePlus is a good resource for all your wellness needs, with tons of information sourced from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
As the leading agency in charge of American health and wellness, the CDC is always stocked with the latest updates and medical information.
The NIH is an excellent database full of scientific research and emerging evidence. It’s not always easy to read as it’s primarily intended for academics and professionals, but you can rest assured that the information is highly reliable.
When trawling the web for medical information, it’s essential to understand where that data is coming from. For additional research, you can find more information and links on this MedlinePlus webpage or this one from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
And whether you’re researching online or video conferencing your doctor, you can always trust your high-speed internet from DayStarr Communications to keep you connected when you need it most!