Skip to Main Content
Michigan State University

Consumer Health Resources

Some of the best websites available for consumers searching for health information, most of which are freely available to the public. Last updated: 3/13/24.

Hoaxes and Misinformation

There is a lot of medical misinformation and health hoaxes on the internet. Some of this information may come from a place of extreme bias, is created to fuel a controversy, or is unintentionally misleading. The links on this page provide resources for checking if information is a hoax and questions to ask when judging whether or not a resource is reliable.

Addressing Health Hoaxes

Identifying Credible Resources

Advertisements and Sponsorships

Be aware of the difference between information on consumer health websites that is written by content creators and information that is part of advertisements. Sites are supposed to mark advertisements clearly by labeling them "Ads" or "sponsored". Advertisements on consumer health websites are likely to be for medications or health-related products, but these products may or may not e supported by scientific evidence (even if the ads claim that they are). 

Most consumer health websites have policies about what kind of advertisements they will allow, which you can read about in their Editorial or Advertising Policy sections. For example, WebMD does not allow ads or miracle weight cures on their site. Most sites will also show disclaimers indicating that they do not necessarily endorse the health products they are advertising.

Screenshot from WebMD, 9/5/2018
Screenshot from WebMD, 9/5/2018

Be aware that consumer health websites do not control all of the advertisements that appear on their sites. Ads by Google appear based on the search terms you use, and they are not vetted by the websites they appear on. These ads should be labeled specifically as Google Ads.

Screenshot from Mayo Clinic, 9/5/2018
Screenshot by Mayo Clinic, 9/5/2018