The Internet is great for many things -- printing IRS tax forms, booking a flight to New York, streaming your favorite TV show. But the Internet becomes a scary abyss of information when you suspect you have a medical issue. Type "pain in left kidney" into a popular search engine, and you'll likely end up scared out of your wits with the results. Suddenly you're diagnosing yourself with a variety of ills, and first thing the next morning, you make an appointment with your doctor because you're sure your gallbladder needs to be removed.
OK, maybe that's just me.
So where can we find reliable health information online? The answer: Consumer Health Complete. Consumer Health Complete is a subscription database available for free to Beaufort County library cardholders. It is a great resource for consumer-oriented health content. It is like having a gigantic, all-inclusive medical reference book at your fingertips anytime you need to check up on health topics. And the best part is, since Consumer Health Complete is an online resource, the content is current.
Consumer Health Complete's topics range from mainstream, holistic and integrated medicine to overall health and wellness. Users will find full-text articles covering topics such as aging, cancer, diabetes, fitness, nutrition, children's health and much more. Consumer Health Complete pulls from sources such as the U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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Consumer Health Complete offers users bite-sized articles about a particular topic, or users can choose to venture deep into a topic by exploring results from Encyclopedia entries, Evidence-Based Reports, Reference Books or even medical information explained via animations and video clips. This database also culls recent newspaper and magazine articles surrounding a topic and pulls them together for the user.
In a hypothetical scenario, let's say that a user is interested in taking a zinc supplement but wants to research it first. Before firing up a search engine like Google, the user would be wise to start with Consumer Health Complete. Search results for "zinc" within this database will yield information including dosage, risks, studies and interactions, foods that naturally include zinc, zinc absorption and much more. More than 200 sources are cited for this article alone.
Don't take my word for it, check it out yourself. Users can access this and any of our other online resources at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/research. Our librarians are happy to help those uncomfortable using a computer or the Internet. A Beaufort County library card provides access to this database for free, as well as dozens of other resources available through our website. Beaufort County residents who do not yet have a library card are encouraged to visit their nearest library with proof of Beaufort County residency or property ownership. Within a matter of minutes new customers can enjoy the multitude of services available through our library system.
Consumer Health Complete is a database powered by EBSCO Host and offered through DISCUS (Digital Information for South Carolina Users). The information provided on Consumer Health Complete is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Information provided in the database should not be viewed as a means for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Traci Cox is the information services coordinator for the Beaufort County library system.