Searching the Internet for Information
These quick hints only take a few minutes to read, but can eliminate hours of frustrated searching that might not give you the results you need. For example, if searching Google, possibly the best suggestions taken from the above list would be:
1. Place a minus sign (-) directly in front of any words you want to eliminate from your
search that might ordinarily be associated with your term but which you're not
Example: apple -computer
2. Place a plus (+) sign immediately in front of any words to focus your search even
further and eliminate searching for synonyms.
3. But if you want to include synonyms or related terms, use OR (in capitals).
Example: college OR university
4. Always put phrases in quotation marks.
Example: "low back pain"
(This will give you approximately 40,000,000 fewer results than searching low
back pain without the quotation marks).
5. You won't have to remember any of this if you use an advanced search page. For
instance, clicking on "Advanced Search" (which can be found to the right of the
search box on the Google home page) will take you to a page that automatically
asks you which words or phrases to include or exclude and if you want to apply
any other limits.
6. Finally, be aware that if the first couple of results on your search
page are on a pale yellow background, that it is a paid ad. The same
holds true with any "sponsored ads" appearing to the right of your
search results. Usually those sites are not so much informational as
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What if your search for "breast cancer" gives you 35,200,000 results! How do you determine which information will genuinely help you understand your condition and select the best treatment? And how do you determine if the information is written by an expert or just someone trying to sell you something? The wrong decision could delay treatment and even be harmful.
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Dot-Com Diagnosis: How to Use the Internet to Get the Best Health Advice (Without Totally Freaking Yourself Out)
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Disclaimer: The information contained at this website is not intended to replace the care of a primary care physician, specialist, or other professional health care provider. It is intended solely to complement that care and is for general informational purposes only. Any health information found on the Internet should always be discussed with your health care provider.