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Can you find credible health information online?
When you search for information on the Web it's important to evaluate your search results before you selected a website.
The first few websites that appear in your results are most likely advertisements from companies (.coms) and are selling products or services.
Even though these websites contain your search terms and have health information, it is pharmaceutical or health product companies that are supplying the information.
Even if you avoid the ads and sponsored links, you still want to be wary and look closely at the source of the website.
Many websites that have health information are cluttered with ads and sponsored links.
Even if it looks like an official health organization, it's a good idea to dig a little deeper before you trust the information that's on that website.
The first thing to do is look for the person or organization who is behind the website.
If you cannot tell or there is no contact information, this may be a red flag.
When looking through your search results, be sure to look at the web address before you make a selection.
For example, health insurance company websites can be a good place to find information about health insurance and coverage.
But for the most part, try to avoid .com websites unless you intend to purchase products or services related to health care.
The Web can be a great place to find up-to-date, free health information,
but since just about anybody can post information on the Web, it can also be cluttered with opinion, hearsay, biased information, and pseudo-science.
So, rather than using a Web search engine to find information,
you may want to start by identifying credible health websites and going to those sites directly rather than taking your chances by searching the whole Web at once.
You can find credible health websites by visiting your local health center or hospital website
or going directly to national medical institute websites, such as the Library of Medicine or Medline Plus.
Identifying credible health websites and searching those sites directly will take some of the guess work out of finding health information on the Web.