How and where to find the best (and reliable) health information on the internet

Internet users often use the network to get information related to health issues, as revealed by the Pew Research Center from the United States. In the study experts explain that 80% of people who navigate in North America do so to find out about these topics.

According to the BBC, Americans are not the only ones, since they claim that this behavior is repeated throughout the world, consulting various websites to find out if the symptoms they are suffering correspond to some disease or illness, in search of self-diagnosis and ways on how to treat it. Although, they warn that you have to be careful with this activity since many of the sites that appear on the internet they are not reliable, so you have to know how and where to look.

Fight misinformation

From the chain they have consulted with several experts in the matter that have revealed that doctors often complain that many patients question their diagnoses for the information they have consumed on the internet, being in many cases false or incomplete. This leads them to worry, and much, about the misinformation they suffer.

Experts ensure that certain sites that are consulted by people worried about his state of health they don't have a minimum of reliability and, in certain occasions, they are not impartial, that is, they make you see what they are interested in for their own benefit. Sometimes the advice that people who consult these pages receive is the only thing they get is to cause concern and panic when there is no need to be alarmed.

Know how to use search engines

Advertisers are aware that the number of health searches is very high (70,000 searches per minute according to experts consulted by the BBC) so you have to keep in mind that there are many possibilities for the information to be manipulated. The director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, Carl Heneghan, states that these people "manipulate some of the searches for you to find the information they want you to see".

In this regard, Heneghan points out that the 35% of people tries to diagnose his ailments through the internet, which it can be very dangerous since, although it ensures that in many occasions the searches are not about serious causes, in others, people consult extremely serious issues, such as in relation to cancer. Also, recommend using Academic google, a search engine specialized in content and scientific-academic bibliography.

For its part, to avoid mistakes, the Scottish doctor and disseminator, Margaret McCartney, explained that the first search results they are not always the ideal, that you have to keep clicking "because many times the most popular options are not the best", even, as he explains, "You have to get to the third page of searches".

According to the aforementioned director of the Medicine Center, you have to distrust symptom checkersWell, he says, based on an investigation by the academic journal BMJ, that this type of site only hits once in three times, but recommends some that do have a high probability of success, such as the American WebMD and Kidshealth.org, an educational site created by the Nemours Foundation, specialized in children's health.

The forums, a double-edged sword

Both Heneghan and McCartney agree that being part of groups when some type of illness is suffered It is very useful, since in this type of specialized forums you can be aware of the progress and support can be found, although you have to be careful, since many of these websites, as the doctor states, they are financed by "companies that have something to sell".

This happens, as explained by experts, because these types of sites have problems to finance, so they end up accepting money from companies dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry, what they want is to market their products. What they recommend is use "more than one source of information, in addition to the experience of other patients and the advice of your doctor before making a decision, "for which Heneghan leaves an advice," sometimes it is better to sit with a loved one to have a cup of tea, tell him what you read and ask your opinion. "