Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Popular Health Websites

The technological world is changing so much that it's hard to keep up. Imagine; in the days of Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Baker made his house calls for the townspeople of Walnut Grove without a thought that one day doctors would be able to make house calls of sorts without leaving their office. Of course, their world was fictional, but the concept was not; and now, the new-age house call is just as nonfiction a tale as ever. There are many websites in present day that give you an enormous amount of information on ways to diagnose yourself, or even enlist the advice of a medical professional. So the next time you're feeling under the weather, maybe you'll be able to find refuge in some of these popular health websites.


Health Check

WebMD is probably the most popular and trusted of the many health websites out there. I heard of this website many years ago in the same way many people do. One day, I was coughing up a storm, but my cough was more aggressive and painful than I was ever used to. I called for an appointment with my doctor but he couldn't fit me in until the next day, so I called the next best person - my best friend - to complain about my coughing fits. She told me that there was a website called WebMD that might be able to diagnose my symptoms, so I tried it out.

As soon as I entered the site, I found a symptom checker icon with a picture of a body next to it. I clicked on the picture of the body and was taken to the symptom checker page which asked me first if I was male or female. Afterward, I answered questions about where I was experiencing pain. I clicked the chest area then answered a series of questions regarding the specifics of my chest pains. After my symptoms were determined by the checker, it was suggested that I call my doctor for an immediate appointment within 1 day. Since I had an appointment the next day, I went to find out that I had a sinus infection - not too serious, but enough to require antibiotics and prescription cough medicine for a month.

WebMD labels itself as "the leading source for trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information." And aside from having this handy symptom checking tool, they offer up-to-date information on a variety of medical topics, and even have what they call "health centers" that focus on various medical conditions from acne and asthma to sleep disorders and strokes. In addition, they offer information on the top 12 health topics, the most common treatments, diet assessments, necessary nutrients, drugs, skin care and so much more - in sum, this website has an overwhelming wealth of information. With everything they have available, it is no wonder that many believe it is one of the best health websites available.


KidsHealth is another one of the many health websites available - and like WebMD it is very highly-ranked, said to be the most visited site regarding children's health. When you first enter the site, you are given three mini health websites to visit: the site created for adults, the one created for kids, and the one created for teenagers. I decided to start with the parents' website first to see what information they had available. On this site, they list a variety of links to choose from, depending on what you're interested in learning. Some of the links include infections, emotions and behavior, medical problems, and doctor and hospital information. Also, they give parents helpful tips in being able to positively care for their children as well as dealing with emotional and behavioral issues. In sum, this part of the site works to look at health from the parent's perspective to help them be a better health administrator to their child.

Of the three mini health websites, the kids' site offers the most kid-friendly information developed to help them learn with a little fun in tow. There are spelling bees related to health topics, recipes for health and fun foods, articles about growing up, understanding the body, and dealing with feelings, and even a glossary of medical terms written in very easy to understand definitions. There is a section of the site called "Watch Out" that discusses ways to stay safe around the house (gun safety, dog bites, and the rules of the Internet), outside of the house (bee stings, bike safety, and poison ivy) and emergencies and first aid. And a section called Kids Talk allows children to ask their own questions and have them answered for everyone to see.

Finally, the teens' mini site let's teenagers explore the idea of getting older and how they can relate to their bodies. The topics on their page include understanding the body, sexual health, infections, food and fitness. There is a section that discusses drugs and alcohol and the topics include the need to stop smoking, the affects of marijuana and other drugs, and even coping with an alcoholic parent. Like the kids site, they offer different recipes that are healthy and easy to make for teens, like lasagna, turkey chili, cornbread and oatmeal, and they also have a similar Q&A section that allows teens to have their personal issues resolved in anonymity. The three mini health websites are great ways to help people understand the health of those under 18 and allows them to comprehend in their own unique ways.

These two health websites are just a few of the many available. But they are the most popular in that they are densely populated with very helpful information. WebMD gives adults a vast amount of topics to choose from and covers almost every area in the medical profession allowing its visitors the opportunity to become educated in terminology they can understand. And KidsHealth gives adults, teens and children a way to understand health education, also without having to rely on physicians for definitions when they are not always available or easily understood. So if you are ever in need of medical information and don't know where to turn, I strongly suggest you consider these two health websites to enhance your understanding of you or your child's well being.

Popular Health Websites

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