It may not be an understatement to say there are as many species of fish in the sea as there are websites on the world wide web. For businesses, this is tough competition. This is why there are financial analytics services to help them boost their presence.
Outside of these business websites, tons of places on the internet give out information on various topics. While these are very helpful, authorities cannot help but be concerned about the reliability and verity of all information across the web. This is a legitimate concern, especially when it comes to health websites.
Why should you be careful about health information found online?
Even before websites existed, there have been so many questionable health practices that people do just because they heard someone say it was effective. Now, this is an even bigger problem because the freedom afforded to everyone on the internet is not regulated. Anybody can say something misleading.
Just look at influencers and celebrities. They get away from giving bad advice by saying, “this worked for me, but it might not work for you.” This statement does not exactly deter people from not following suit.
And the influencers who say this are at least putting out a word of caution. There are a number of people out there just dumping the wrong information, and they don’t even think twice about it.
Just look at how many people are still rubbing lemon on the dark areas of their bodies. Dermatologists have been calling this practice out. Lemon is highly acidic, which can lead to skin irritation. Plus, it throws off your skin PH level, and it can damage your skin barrier.
Moving on to the diet culture, it just gets worse. There are plenty of diet fads and unhealthy advice on losing weight everywhere on the internet. The jobs of dietitians and nutritionists are just getting harder.
How can you identify trustworthy health websites?
1. Check the URL for the website sponsor
Websites don’t magically appear and stay on the internet. It costs money to keep them up. This is one of your clues whether a website is reliable or not.
Check the URL to be sure. If it ends with “.gov,” it means that this is a government website. HHS.gov is the official website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you want to know about food, cosmetics, and medicine, check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For information on diseases, you can go to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Domains ending in “.edu” are also reliable, especially if you look at the latest literature on health research. This domain ending belongs to educational institutions. For example, https://www.health.harvard.edu is the official website of Harvard University’s medical school. This is where Harvard publishes health information to be available to global audiences. The health education department maintains the website under the Harvard Medical School.
Lastly, you can also trust “.org” domains. These usually belong to non-profit organizations and research societies. One good example is https://www.apa.org which is the official website of the American Psychological Association. The websites of UNICEF, the American Heart Association, Association of Research Libraries, and the International Peace Institute all have the “.org” ending.
2. Look for websites whose article authors are trustworthy
When you read health information or advice on the internet, check who the author is. Websites usually have the “Contact Us” page, and you can get some information through this. Or, while you are on your browser, you can type in the name to see if they are an authority on the subject.
You should be able to see if professionals have reviewed the article. If not, that’s a red flag. Also, be careful of personal testimonies. If the article sounds like it is selling you something, it probably is.
3. Check the article date
You could be reading a great article on the research about coronavirus on a government website. And there is still a chance that the one you are reading is inaccurate, especially if there have been updates on the field. Always check the date the article was written and look if there are links to an update.
News websites are also trustworthy in bringing you information about the latest discovery and progress in the field of medicine and health. Doing additional research to verify the information you get online is just a little sacrifice. So much could go wrong as a result of misleading content on the internet, so always be careful.