Reliable Medical Information

Finding medical information about all the health problems and concerns you collect as you get older is no easy task. Have you ever read the printed information that comes with a prescription? Is that sheet of paper a reminder that you need to expand your vocabulary because you are not familiar with the medical terms? When you read the list of your medical risks taking this medication do you ask yourself why anyone would take it in the first place?

Now you are in a quandary because your doctor gave you this prescription and wants you to take the medication. You want to find out if the risk of taking it is worse than the condition you have that your doctor is treating. You can call the office and ask the doctor or his assistant but you want more information about your condition before you even do that. So where do you go to find medical information that is reliable?

You could watch all the news broadcasts of all the TV stations because just about everyone has a health segment of some kind. You could wait for the Oprah program to see who she promotes as a medical specialist. Or you could devise a plan and find out as much information as you can and at your own pace. I recommend using the library in your community.

One of the best reasons for using your local library to find medical information is that the reference librarians can help you. Most libraries have medical reference books that you can only read in the library. Often times the books are located close to the reference desk because the librarians keep track of them. The librarian knows which books can help you find your information. Take them to a table and either photo copy the pages or take notes or do both.

Most libraries also have internet access and a data base that includes medical information. They usually have a collection of basic medical references which may include medical dictionaries or encyclopedias, drug information handbooks, basic medical and nursing textbooks, and directories of physicians and medical specialists. You may also want to find magazine articles on a certain topic. Look in the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature for articles on health and medicine that were published in consumer magazines. Be sure to ask the librarian which of these resources is available on line and open to the public because life on the internet changes quickly.

Libraries also have computer databases indexing hundreds of popular magazines and newspapers as well as some medical journals. In these journals you have free access to some of the articles but not to everything without a paid subscription. However, many of the databases or indexes have abstracts that provide a summary of each journal article. Although most community libraries do not have a large collection of medical and nursing journals, your librarian may be able to get copies of the articles you want through Interlibrary loans. You may have to pay for this service.

Again, the reference librarian will be able to walk you through all this and help you organize that information. Again, some of that information may not be available to you at home because you need to be a member of this or that organization. Copy the url addresses that are open to the public so you can look at those sites at home and on your own time.