Finding reliable health information on the Internet can be a challenge. A Google search for “heart attack” produces 92,000 results! How do you know which of these sites has reliable information?

To help Seniors find reliable and accurate health information on the Internet, the library staff of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center has compiled a set of guidelines and recommended websites which is quite helpful. We think it is an excellent resource. As a service to Seniors in Talbot County, Hopkins has allowed us to excerpt that information in this section of the publication.

Here are some tips for protecting yourself from inaccurate information
and Internet scams:

Read Before You Search

Reliable websites give you true information. Remember these four points when you search the Internet:

  • Accuracy – Does the website use reliable research? Check many sources for the same information – are the results the same?
  • Authority – Websites that end in .org., .gov, or .edu are usually the most reliable websites for health facts. Make sure the website is written by doctors, nurses, or others working in the health care field.
  • Bias – Who pays for the website: If a company supports a website they could have control over the website and give you wrong information.
  • Currency – When were the facts last updated? Medical research never stops. Make sure the information is no older than three years.

Signs of Scam

How can you tell if websites are telling the truth? These signs can help you decide whether a website or an ad is a scam.

  • No one treatment works for everyone. All conditions are different. Two people with the same problem may need different treatments. Don’t trust any website with ads for products that say it can treat any sickness.
  • “Natural” doesn’t always mean safe or that it actually works.
  • Fake marketers may trick you into buying their product. Products that claim to cure or treat a sickness might seem honest, but they can be completely made-up. An actor or model could have been paid to tell you they like the product. Personal stories are not proof that the product works.
  • Big words might sound impressive, but aren’t proof that the product works. Your doctor will know the facts.
  • A money-back guarantee doesn’t prove that a product works.
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