Bad health advice has always been out there, but the Coronavirus pandemic has created a perfect storm of fear and desperation, lightning fast changes in public health recommendations, and the viral spread of dangerous misinformation.
To protect ourselves and each other, we need to be sure that the health information we’re accessing and sharing is authoritative and trustworthy. Lives can depend on it. (See an early example with devastating consequences.) This may seem easier said than done, especially in the age of social media.
We’re here for you! Our librarians have put together a list of free to use, evidence based health information sources, as well as local, state, and federal websites to guide you in your search for answers. When in doubt, always consult your health care provider.
(This post is part of the Adults at Home series, which highlights some of the best resources for adults and seniors on a variety of topics.)
How Do I Know What to Believe?
Reliable health information can be found online, but dangerous misinformation is also out there. Always ask yourself who created the website or graphic, and what they have to gain. Thinking about the source’s accuracy, authority, bias, timeliness, and other factors will help you avoid scams and the spread of misinformation. See the resources below for more information about evaluating health information online.
- Know the Science: The Facts About Health News Stories
- Evaluating Health Websites guide by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine
- “Guide to Healthy Web Surfing” from Medline Plus
- Trust It or Trash It?
Health Information Databases Provided By Your Library
The following databases are available to Marin County Free Library patrons. You will need your library card number and password to access these resources. (Go here to reset your password.)
If you are a city library patron, you still have access to these health resources. You can also check your home library’s website for additional resources that may be available to you. For help accessing our online resources, visit our website or contact us.
This database provides information on complementary, holistic and integrated approaches to health care and wellness. It includes full text articles from more than 150 journals and reports, many peer-reviewed. Search for a specific topic, or browse an alphabetical list of subjects or publications.
This database provides health information for consumers. It covers mainstream medicine as well as complementary, holistic and integrated medicine. Search a topic and limit your results by the type of information included in the database: evidence-based reports; encyclopedias and reference books; fact sheets; magazine articles; drug and herb information; alternative medicine resources; images and diagrams; and video. Or browse a list of general topics in the lower right of the main page and customize a more specific search.
Health Source – Consumer Edition
This database provides full text articles from nearly 80 consumer health magazines, including American Fitness, Better Nutrition, Harvard Health Letter, Prevention, and Vegetarian Times. Search for content, or browse subjects under the Thesaurus.
Local, State, and Federal Offices, and Other Public Health Resources
Marin Health and Human Services – Coronavirus in Marin
California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 page, which includes information on the virus in California, what to do if you’re sick, and how to protect yourself and others.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have data on the virus in the U.S. as a whole as well as community-wide response plans
- MedlinePlus: Presents high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – get the latest research information and treatment guidelines for COVID-19, including a rundown of clinical trials
- NIH National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health – information on alternative treatments for COVID-19
- NIH Office of Dietary Supplements – fact sheets that give a current overview of individual vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements
- Ready.gov (En español): Ready is a National public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters.
- US Department of Health and Human Services has information on a variety of conditions, screenings, and preventative health
- White House Coronavirus Taskforce
COVID-19 Fact Checking
Better Business Bureau: Tips on avoiding Coronavirus related scams.
CDC Coronavirus Fact Vs. Fiction
COVID-19 Fact Check : UCSF medical students created this reliable and easy to understand website, which is available in eight languages.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Coronavirus Myth Vs. Fact
Finding a Doctor
Need a doctor? Check out our blog post “Where to Find Information on Physicians, Surgeons, or Hospitals“
Research and writing by Tom, Linda, and Natalie.
Editing and formatting by Ana.