One of our biggest concerns is our health. The internet has become a burgeoning source of health related information. Any query we have related to our health or somebody else’s whether it is age specific, country or climate specific, information is available on the internet. Many general practitioners discourage us laymen from poring over available material on the net for our aches and pains, as they tell us that half knowledge can be dangerous! But is it really half-knowledge? The internet gives reams and reams of information about every disease known to man.
Social networking sites are also a source of health related information, but provide links to the sponsors of such information
So how do we separate the grain from the chaff? While we do look for internet solutions to our health problems, we do want authentic dependable information.
If a doctor is not immediately available, it helps to be informed about the condition.
There are certain check points to tick off so that we are guided to the best site offering medical advice..
· Is the site is selling something or making undue claims for any product?
· Does it have outdated information? – the date of the page is often near the bottom
· Is it sponsored by an organization whose reputation is questionable for any reason?
· Is the source and basis of the information stated?
· What is the purpose of the site? – The About this site page should give the answer to this question
· How does the site fund itself?
· How does the site use your personal information?
· Does the site encourage reader interaction?
If the answers to all the above questions satisfy you, go ahead and use the website. But remember to share your findings with your doctor and take his or her opinion.
Some points to keep in mind
There are web tracking sites which specialize in audience measurement. If your chosen site features in their list, this is a plus point in its favor as it means that it is a popular site, and lots of people are consulting it for their health related questions.
If the site bears allegiance to a famous hospital, or if it has been started by a doctor, it invokes more confidence in the user.
Some sites have a question and answer format. Based on some key words that you type in, the answers that may already be there are thrown up for you. If you are not satisfied, you are requested to direct your question to the inhouse experts.
Your input is also requested in some sites, which ask you whether you want to answer any queries put up by other users. For this, it is mandatory that you register with the website. You are asked to preview your answer before you finally post it.
In conclusion: Knowledge empowers and knowledge of the working of complex mechanism of any part of the body helps in understanding the disease specific to that part. Keeping the above points in mind, you would perhaps be one step ahead of your illness when you are armed with the correct information.