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Where to find vetted information about Coronavirus and other health issues Become health literate

Health literacy

As a researcher interested in combating health illiteracy and disinformation on the Internet, I have compiled a list of vetted websites about the coronavirus and other health issues. It is extremely difficult to discern credible online health information from non-credible information, especially with the coronavirus pandemic. I hope this information helps. I have used it to learn more about my father's brain tumor and other health topics.

Much of the information is written or approved by a healthcare professional and is in plain English. Caveat: Use this information as a supplement to not as a substitute for your physician's advice. Self-diagnosis is discouraged.

What is health literacy?

Why health literacy?

Because the Internet is where most Internet users get the majority of their health information.

  • 80% of Internet users (93 million Americans) search for health information on the Internet
  • 63% searched for a specific health topic
  • 47% for a specific medical treatment
  • 44% for diet, nutrition information
  • 36% health and fitness

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2019

CORONAVIRUS LINKS

Search tips

In general, use sites that have the .edu or .org domains. These sites are associated with hospitals, universities or government agencies.

HON Code

Look for the Health on the Internet Foundation logo, located at the bottom of health websites.

HON is associated with the World Health Organization.

One of the HON requirements is that health information has to be written in simple English, updated frequently; and that information has to be approved by a healthcare professional.

When you do a Google search on a health website health, add the term "HONcode." That will pull up sites certified by HON.

You can also check to see if the website is certified by HoN by visiting this site. For example, kidshealth.org is a HON Code site with an editorial policy requiring updated content that is approved by a healthcare professional .

Wash your hands

Dr. Kim Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C. His research intersects social media and online health literacy. kcsmith1@ncat.edu

Credits:

Created with images by Fusion Medical Animation - "New visualisation of the Covid-19 virus" • Tai's Captures - "untitled image" • Kelly Sikkema - "Hands holding a large bottle of hand sanitizer "