Last updated: February 17. 2014 5:09PM - 753 Views
Kim Reid Contributing columnist

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Web surfing has become almost as popular as channel surfing. One possible catch is health information, but be sure you get reliable, quality information. Use these guidelines to evaluate health web sites.

Consider the source - Go with recognized authorities. Look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the site - government agency, nonprofit institution, professional organization, company selling its product, or an individual. There’s a big difference in a site that says, “I started this web site after I had a heart attack” and one that says, “This page on heart attacks was developed by health professionals at the American Heart Association.”

Be Skeptical - of scientific breakthrough and products that give quick and miraculous results. As with most things in life, if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true.

Look for Evidence - Rely on medical research, not opinion. All articles should have an author listed.

Check for Currency - Does the information have a current date? Check out a few links on the site; if there are a lot of broken links, the site is probably not kept up to date.

Follow the Money - Who is funding the site? Check to see if public funds, donations, or commercial advertising funds the site. Advertisements should be labeled as Advertisement, From Our Sponsor.

Protect your Privacy - Most folks like to keep their health information private. Look for a link that says “Privacy” or “Privacy Policy” and check it out. For example, if the site says, “We share information with companies that can provide you with useful products,” beware-you’ll probably be flooded with ads for those products.

For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

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