Sometimes, you can believe what you see on the internet

Thursday, October 17, 2019

You can’t believe anything you see on the internet, or can you?

Just like any media, it depends on the source.

There’s plenty of opportunities for hypochondriacs to find a rare, imagined illness, the “zebra” budding doctors are advised to avoid by their more experienced mentors.

That stuffy nose or achy joint is more likely a common cold or a sign of aging than some exotic ailment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do so research in preparation for your visit to the doctor.

One thing about the internet is the unlimited amount of free information it can provide from unlimited sources.

The key, of course, is choosing those sources wisely.

According to a Pew study, 80% of us have searched for health-related topics, and 20% of us say that’s the first place they turn, according to a recent UnitedHealthCare survey.

Most often, they turn to the three fastest-growing medical websites, with content written or curated by physicians. Beyond that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are among the most popular sites on the internet.

Still, most of us prefer a trusted doctor, and are more likely to follow their advice.

But the best doctors tend to be the busiest, and about a third of doctors spend an average of 15 minutes with each patient.

If that patient has done some research, they’ll know what questions to ask, making that visit much more productive.

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