How Can You Avoid Medical Misinformation?

The internet is vast, and many people have a vested interest in portraying themselves as an authority. You don’t have to travel far on social media to see someone pushing forward claims about topics that matter, and especially related to medical matters. We saw this during the Covid-19 pandemic, where misinformation about vaccine efficacy and their utility was constantly monitored by the big platforms.


That being said, nothing will ever be as helpful as exercising your own good judgement and common sense, and looking for the signs of misinformation so you can recognize it when you see it. Note that first and foremost, you have to admit that even highly intelligent, capable, and experienced people can fall victim to this. So don’t assume that you’re invulnerable, because people just like you can have a harsh time also (of course, by that we mean highly perceptive and intelligent as well).


So far so good, but what are the actual steps for avoiding medical misinformation? We hope to help you with that, below:


Always Check The Source


In our smartphone-led times, information spreads rapidly, and often without verification. To avoid misinformation, always consider the credibility of the source, no matter if you’re just reading a blog or using a worthwhile resource like Trusted sources can include peer-reviewed journals, government health websites, and respected medical institutions, but you could also consider those who might have experience in the field, knowing that not everyone will be an expert on everything. If the information comes from a blog, social media post, or an unverified website, be skeptical and cross-reference with authoritative sources. That doesn’t mean the information is wrong, it just means a little more work is needed.


Be Wary Of Quick Promises


Try and beware of treatments or cures that promise quick fixes. It’s hard when you’re concerned about a condition or you want a quick fix for a troubling issue, and that is genuinely understandable. But remember, medical science is complex, and effective treatments undergo rigorous testing and trials before they are put to the test. If a claim seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always approach such promises with caution and seek evidence of clinical trials or scientific backing if you can. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything – perhaps meditation can certainly help your blood pressure, but do that in addition to the conventional advice, not instead of it.


Ultimately, Check With Your Health Professional, Even If You Need A Second Opinion


Your health professional knows your medical history and can provide personalized advice, whereas a blog writer or online expert can’t, and their advice, even if true, couldn’t possibly apply perfectly to everyone. If you’re uncertain about medical information you’ve found, discuss it with them, and don’t feel dismayed if they dismiss it, it doesn’t mean you’re less intelligent for asking. For complex or serious health issues, seeking a second opinion is a wise step too. Even health professionals will admit they can sometimes get things wrong, but the answer isn’t an unverified source, it’s another health professional.


With this advice, we hope you can more easily avoid medical misinformation, though sometimes it can feel hard to do so.

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