For me, from the moment I considered having kids, I started to worry about their health and safety. So much information! So much contradiction! So many changes and updates! And don’t get me started on the terrifying and tragic headlines….
Since I’m a librarian, I focused on finding sources of information that I trusted to educate myself and calm my fears. I used a combination of information:
- instructions from my doctor
- health books with recent publication dates, written by doctors or qualified health professionals
- well organized and verified health websites for parents and consumers, like MedlinePlus and KidsHealth
With all of the other new responsibilities that came with having kids, I found it difficult to take time to learn and understand health issues to make informed decision. My kids were so distracting and cute when they were healthy (I’m sure you have this problem also!) and when they had stuffy noses or upset tummies, I was busy worrying over them.
Reading about how to make healthier choices, choose safe options and keep my family healthy ultimately makes me feel more confident as a parent.
Good health literacy helps parents better manage and respond to their child’s health, which in turn can position their kids for better learning and avoid missing school. Healthy children are more alert and aware.
More than 90 million U.S. adults have low health literacy, which measures the extent to which someone can access necessary health services, as well as how proficiently he or she can understand pertinent health information. Being an informed consumer of health information requires more than reading ability.
People make choices about their health every day: what to eat, when to see a doctor, whether or not to smoke. To stay healthy, individuals must know how to read the labels on food and medicine, locate the nearest health center, know when to report symptoms to health professionals, understand insurance paperwork and pay medical bills. Moreover, health information provided in a stressful or unfamiliar situation, like in a doctor’s office or when your child is sick or hurt, is unlikely to be retained.
As your Health Information Librarian, I’m glad to help you find health information and local resources. Call Lissa Staley at 580-4629 or email me with your questions. Remember, library staff cannot answer specific questions about medical conditions or treatment options. Librarians can guide you to trusted health information so you can make educated decisions about your health and that of your loved ones.