Considering the plethora of health advice that you can find online, we are able to be more aware of what our bodies need than ever before. Going to Dr. Google to ask for his opinion has, for some people, replaced actually visiting someone with an MD after their name.
In some ways, this is a wonderful thing. People can research illnesses like never before, giving themselves access to a wealth of information they would have previously been denied. It’s also beneficial for sufferers of diagnosed illnesses, who can research new treatment options, exercise ideas, and talk to others in the same position as them.
Of course, there is the caveat. Given that anyone can put information online, sometimes you have to be very careful about the choices you make when following health advice. To help you on your way, here’s a guide to discerning the useful information from that which is potentially harmful.
Rule 1: Nothing Ever Replaces A Doctor
If you suspect you have a health condition, by all means you can research it online. But never diagnose yourself or embark on a treatment plan based purely on online information. Always visit a doctor, even if just to get them to sign off on the ideas you’re intent on pursuing.
Rule 2: Look For Evidence
Any reputable online advice is going to be able to provide back-up (ideally in the form of scientific studies) to reinforce their claim. If all you can see is a person or company alone extolling the virtues of a product, service or supplement, then be wary.
Rule 3: Beware The Single Sales Page
It’s easy to stumble across them: a single sales page, often over 2,000 words, complete with images of smiling, happy people. There’s usually a testimony thrown in there from a nameless person who, upon further investigation, does not appear to exist. Any reputable company will provide far more than a single static page of information and then a link to buy their product, so look around and check social media.
Rule 4: Listen To Others
The opinion of others should never be discounted, but this is particularly true when it comes to health advice. Can you find information from the people who have direct experience of the product or company? Take the likes of AlgaeCal reviews or what people have to say about this sublingual B12—all full of user-generated information from those who have actually taken the product. Far better than nameless, faceless reviews on a single static page.
Rule 5: Trust Your Gut
You’re a smart person, so if something sounds too good to be true, it might just be. Don’t believe the hype for a product that promises to cure all ills. Most help is generally found from supplements and regimes that involve a wide variety of products, each designed to target specific health concerns. There is no single magic wand to be waved to fix everything in one fell swoop, so apply a large dose of skepticism to anyone who claims differently.
The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It’s always okay to try to find more information about your illness if you are sick, but you should always go to a medical professional.