Admit it—you’ve gone to one of the myriad medical websites out there to check a symptom, right? I’ve done it. What do the back twinge, the foot pain, that sharp-stick-in-the-side feeling mean? Am I dying? I even check other people’s symptoms. But how on earth do you know what sites are reliable?
In our March issue, on newsstands now, we discuss 24 sites we think you can trust with your medical inquiries. Here are just a few:
Start, of course, with ConsumerReportsHealth.org. It costs only $19 a year for the full website, but there’s a lot of free info there, like on ear infections and glaucoma and supplements, etc. Check it out!
But there are also a ton of other sites, so we came up with a list of free and almost free sites that we think you can trust.
For asking questions: ShareCare.com
For doctors and resources: DocBoard.org
For family health: BabyCenter.com
We also give you a list of 10 sites we think you should avoid, and why, including ones you’ve probably used yourself!
Here’s our advice for figuring out what sites are trustworthy:
Check to see who created the site. Does it have .edu, .gov or .org in the address? Those are a good start (though you don’t need to limit your search to those suffixes), because that means they’re run by an educational institution, the government, or a nonprofit. Then look at the About Us page to see if the site is run by doctors or sponsored by a drug company, for instance. You might not want to rely on a pharmaceutical company alone to answer your medical questions.
Who’s on the advisory team? If it’s doctors and researchers, you’re probably good. There’s a little symbol to look for, too that says site complies with the HONcode standard, which means the site meets certain standards of trustworthiness.
Good luck, and stay healthy. Look for more advice in our March issue!