We are use to finding the answers to just about everything on the internet including questions about our health. The March issue of ShopSmart Magazine lists which medical websites you should turn to, and which ones you should avoid. Sue Perry, Deputy Editor for ShopSmart Magazine gives advice on how to spot a health website you should not trust.
If a health website is trying to sell dietary supplements, herbs or homeopathic products don't use that site for a source of information.
Writers credentials matter. Don't take medical advice from websites such as eHow who rely on a cast of thousands to publish advice with few or no credentials.
If a site makes claims that are too good to be true it probably is. Be wary of sites that promise quick, dramatic or miraculous results. Lots of exclamation points are a dead givaway. Also, beware of claims that one remedy will cure many illnesses, that it is a breakthrough or secret ingredient. You should always verify such claims on a reputable site.
Be skeptical of testimonials and rely on a thorough review of all the evidence, not opinion. Don't fall for advice that is one sided or lacking entirely.
Check the "about us" page on the health site and if it is sponsored by an individual or group that is not a recognized authority or has an inherent bias don't use it. A site sponsored by a drug company is not the best source of unbiased information about treatments. The site should also provide contact information for the organization or webmaster.
And absolutely do not use information that is old or undated.
For more information on avoiding bad health websites and other consumer topics, click here.
Sue Perry & Erika Wortham
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