Q:

Should you trust online medical advice?

A:

Quick Answer

Some medical websites provide reliable information, while others do not, according to the National Institute on Aging. Additionally, some of the information on a medical website may not be current. Knowing the website sponsor and the source and date of its information is important when searching for accurate medical information.

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Should you trust online medical advice?
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Full Answer

Federal government-sponsored websites provide reliable sources of information. Other accurate sources of information may be provided by well-known medical schools and large professional organizations, explains the National Institute on Aging. When choosing trustworthy medical information online, it is important to know who sponsors and hosts the website. Websites that provide reliable medical advice offer contact information to reach their authors or sponsors.

Contributing authors to a website and any financial connections they may have to the website should also be clear, notes the National Institute on Aging. A dependable website informs users where the information came from and how it was reviewed. Caution is advised when using personal testimonials for health advice. However, no information provided on a website should replace seeing a health professional. Be cautious about websites that promise miracle cures to several types of health problems by using only one remedy. Reliable medical information gained from using the Internet should be current. The date of the information is often listed at the bottom of the page. However, not all older information is useless since many websites provide older information as historical background.

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