Websites You SHOULD Use for Your Health Research

Getting medical information on the Internet websites might be easy, but relying on it can be dangerous-rumors, misunderstandings, biased opinions, and outright lies await. Here are some tips for using the Internet effectively as part of your health care.

Getting Good Information: “Start at Web resources dedicated to providing only peer-reviewed medical information,” says library science expert Sean Eads. “WebMD.com and Healthfinder.gov are two excellent resources where the articles are researched and written by professionals.” Eads recommends avoiding websites like Wikipedia or Yahoo! Answers where anyone can provide unverified information.

Other options for information include AskDrWiki.com, where articles can only be composed and edited by qualified medical professionals. For a more academic viewpoint of conditions, Eads suggests Searchmedica.com, which compiles medical journal articles, clinical trials, and other health magazines into its searchable database.

Trust the Professionals: Internet sources should not be used in place of health-care professionals, but rather as a supplemental tool to enable you to be a better advocate for yourself. Gather the knowledge you need to be informed and ask intelligent questions, but remember that consulting a website is not a substitute for a visit to a health-care professional.
We all know that doctors don’t have ample amount of time to ask you or answer to your questions; so asking specific questions and giving them detailed information can make a huge difference in being properly diagnosed & treated.

One advantage that the Internet does have is its ability to foster connections between people living with similar conditions. A September 2010 Pew Internet survey shows that 1 in 5 Internet users have sought out someone with the same medical condition they had. Building an online community can allow people to share experiences, and provide support across long distances and in situations where a condition is less common.

Find a Balance: Recognizing both the benefits and shortcomings of these websites is necessary to utilizing them most effectively. Don’t sit on the sidelines; be proactive in your health!

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