A Matter of Fact: Finding Reliable Health Information

It is in our daily conversations, our social media posts, our email, and text messages. Misinformation can cause confusion and have harmful consequences. Let the truth set you free, and cut the noise over false, inaccurate, or misleading information.

Common types

  • Memes (fun, colorful images or graphics) created as a joke
  • Websites that look professional but have false or misleading stories
  • Quotations where some parts have been deleted to change the meaning
  • Cherry-picked statistics that share only a part of the data
  • Misleading graphs or diagrams that don’t tell the whole story
  • Old images shared as if they are very recent
  • Videos edited to change the meaning

Checking for Credibility

  • Did you check with the CDC or local public health department to see whether there is any information about the claim being made?
  • Did you ask a credible health care professional such as your doctor or nurse if they have any additional information?
  • Did you type the claim into a search engine to see if it has been verified by a credible source?
  • Did you look at the “About Us” page on the website to see if you can trust the source?
  • If you’re not sure about the content, don’t share!

Continue the Conversation with Family, Friends, Community

  • Listen – Try to understand their fears and beliefs.
  • Empathize – Ask questions to understand where they’re coming from. Talk about how difficult it is to find trustworthy health information.
  • Point to credible sources – Show them sources like:
  • Don’t publicly shame – Try to have conversations one on one. Be gentle and understanding.
  • Use inclusive language – Show that you identify with them. Try phrases like “I’ve been confused too” or “I understand.”

For more information, check out this guide for health information created by San Diego Circuit.