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