Finding Credible Health Information
Last updated: April 2021
There’s a lot of health information available on the internet these days. From personal blogs to online magazines to government websites and beyond, advice about your health is at every click.
Much of this health information can be useful, especially when you have a chronic condition such as cystic fibrosis. The symptoms aren’t always easily definable, and it can take so long to get diagnosed.
But, when getting health info online, it’s important to know who the writers are and where they get their information. This can ensure you get the best, most up-to-date, and most credible information. If you have a trusted health care provider, you can also talk to them about where to find credible health information.
Why do I have to be careful about where I find health info?
It’s great that there is so much information available online, as this can arm you with knowledge. But this information can come from anyone without any personal knowledge of CF or any medical knowledge at all.
It’s common for people to want to share what worked for them. If you found something that really helped your CF, you’d probably want to share it with others, too! But it’s important to remember that everyone’s body and health history are different. What works for someone might not work for you, and it could actually make your condition worse.
Tips for finding reliable information
- The author’s name should be easy to find. See if you can find out information about the author. Are they a healthcare professional? Do they have experience in this field? If so, the information can probably be trusted.
- Check if the article lists sources. Where did the author find his or her information? The sources listed should also be from trusted websites or organizations.
- Ask yourself if the article is trying to sell something. Is the author selling you a product? If so, you should keep in mind that the information may not be based on science.
- The information should come from health research done by many experts. Research is how healthcare professionals learn about certain health topics.
- Just because the website or organization sounds credible doesn’t mean that it is. A lot of organizations have names that seem trustworthy. Don’t trust just the name.
- If you are unsure about information that you have found online, ask your healthcare professional for advice. Bring a printed copy or show them on your phone at your next appointment for advice.
Where to look
In general, it’s best to look for information from large health organizations or government websites, like the CDC. Some examples of websites that have good, credible health information are:Medline PlusThe Centers for Disease ControlThe National Institutes of HealthWorld Health Organization
Have you participated in clinical or market research before?