Authenticity of web health information ignored by Britons

Only a quarter of Britons who go online for health information check where the advice has come from, a report shows.

The research, which was commissioned by Bupa, also revealed that 75% of people go online for health information, 64% of people look for information about medicines online and 58% self diagnose online.

But it said it is a challenge to ensure that online health information is of high quality and can be trusted.

‘Online health: untangling the web’ warned that poor quality information can lead to needless worry, unnecessary consultations and delays in appropriate diagnoses.

Dr Annabel Bentley, Bupa Health and Wellbeing’s medical director, said: 'Unreliable information about health online is a real worry. Relying on dodgy information can easily lead to people taking risks with inappropriate tests and treatments, wasting money and causing unnecessary worry.

‘Equally, people may check online and dismiss serious symptoms when they should get advice from a doctor.’

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