Which websites do you turn to for health information? There are literally thousands of sites offering advice, but a huge proportion of them are either trying to sell you something or simply don’t provide evidence-based recommendations. So here are my favorite websites for parents to find the best health advice for their family.
My #1 favorite parent-friendly website is www.familydoctor.org, run by my medical board, the American Academy of Family Physicians. This easily searchable and readable website has hundreds of user-friendly and informative tips on most health topics. Many are available as a PDF file you can print and share with others.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new, excellent family-friendly website at www.healthychildren.org. This website focuses mostly on wellness and prevention at different ages. The Pediatric Academy’s main website, at www.aap.org, also has a big list of “Health Topics” which provide authoritative answers on many basic questions.
Those of you looking for vaccine information should avoid all distracting websites and go straight to the source: the Centers for Disease Control. In the U.S., it is available at www.cdc.gov/vaccines. Here you can find the latest official schedules for vaccines at all ages, as well as valuable information on vaccine safety. Those of you from other countries can simply Google-search for your child’s vaccine schedules; all European vaccine schedules can be found at http://www.euvac.net.
The Centers for Disease Control is also an outstanding and credible source for all general health information, including their special “Parents” section at www.cdc.gov/parents. You can also find official, evidence-based articles from another U.S. governmental site, sponsored by the National Ministry of Health, called MedlinePlus, at www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/childrenshealth.html.
There are very few large commercial websites that I recommend for general health due to their commercial slant, but I often like the famous Mayo Clinic’s website at www.mayoclinic.com. They provide well written and very user-friendly articles, videos and slide shows about thousands of topics. I also like their emphasis on wellness and prevention.
Parents who want more doctorish-level articles can find outstanding patient handouts from the UpToDate group, at www.uptodate.com/patients. The UpToDate website is probably the medical world’s #1 esteemed source for medical information and is, by far, my most valuable website for my practice. Their patient handouts are free and very detailed, although it’s a bit less user-friendly than other websites. Parents can also find free doctor-level articles at the physician website www.medscape.com, which is an umbrella group of the consumer-oriented WebMD.com.
Those of you who want the top-level evidence may be interested in paying a bit of money to use the physician-oriented websites at www.uptodate.com, or peruse the world’s top collection of evidence-based reviews at the Cochrane Collaboration’s website at www.cochrane.org/cochrane-reviews. You can get a free 30-day trial at UpToDate.
What about other websites, or your favorite website? Does your favorite website pass screening by its medical peers? There is one famous international non-profit organization called Health on the Net Foundation which screens all popular medical sites and has their own certificate of validity, which you can search at their website at www.hon.ch. I’m very proud that my website is officially certified by the Health on the Net Foundation as a trustworthy source of health information.
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