Your health online

When you have a question about your health, where is the first place you go?

Probably you are googling it! Many of us google our medical problems – its fast, easy, you get an answer right away. What could go wrong?

 

Well for one, you could get really upset over nothing – or you might ignore something serious!

There is some good information on the internet about your health – but sometimes it is hard to figure out what is trustworthy and what is just one person blogging away about something they don’t know about.

Here are 16 ways you can check out a site to see if you can trust it:

  • Does the site tell you what it is about and who might find it useful?
    • If yes, do you think it gives the information it aims to provide?
  • Does the site deal with important questions you want to know more about? or give realistic advice?
  • Does the site give evidence for the information it gives (like a research study or a health professional’s opinion)?
  • Is there a list of references (like you’d see at the end of a wikipedia article)?
  • Does it give dates for when the information was produced (like dates of the main sources it uses for the article)?
  • Is it balanced? (does it seem like someone only wrote their own personal story and that’s it? does it give both sides of the story? does it talk about multiple treatment choices?)
  • Does it give links for other resources that can help give more information?
  • Does it say there is a 100% success rate with one kind of treatment? (that is almost never true in medicine – be cautious if the website makes strong statements like this)
  • Does it talk about how each treatment works?
  • Does it talk about the benefits of each treatment? (like getting rid of symptoms)
  • Does it talk about the risks of each treatment? (like side effects)
  • Does it talk about what would happen – like risks and benefits – of doing nothing?
  • Does it talk about how treatments can effect your quality of life? (your day-to-day activity, things that are important to you)
  • Is it clear that there are multiple treatment options or ways you could go?
  • Does it suggest you talk to your family, friends, and health professionals?

Try it out – look up a health question you have – and test out whether these questions helped you or not.

Most importantly, a website will never give you all the answers you need to take care of your health. If you have a serious question, then talk to a trusted adult or see your health provider.

Did you try these questions? Did they help you rate a website? Let us know below! If you found any good links for quality health websites tell us below! One great website we recommend for girls is youngwomenshealth.org and for boys is youngmenshealthsite.org!

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Moderator ★

Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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