There are literally thousands of websites offering medical advice, but a huge proportion of them simply don’t provide evidence-based recommendations. To help you find credible information online, here are my favorite health advice websites.
My number-one favorite parent-friendly website is www.familydoctor.org, run by my medical board, the American Academy of Family Physicians. This user-friendly website has hundreds of tips and downloadable PDF files. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new website (www.healthychildren.org) focusing mostly on wellness and prevention at different ages. The Pediatric Academy’s main website (www.aap.org) also has a big list of "Health Topics" which provide authoritative answers on many basic questions.
If you’re looking for information on vaccines, avoid all distracting websites and go straight to the source. In the US, that is the Centers for Disease Control (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. All European vaccine schedules can be found at www.euvac.net. Those of you from other countries can simply Google-search for your child’s vaccine schedules.
The Centers for Disease Control is also an outstanding and credible source for all general health information, including their special "Parents" section (www.cdc.gov/parents). You can also find official, evidence-based articles from another US 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 Mayo Clinic’s website (www.mayoclinic.com). They provide well-written articles, videos and slide shows about thousands of topics.
Parents who want more in-depth articles can find outstanding patient handouts from the UpToDate group (www.uptodate.com/patients). This website is, by far, my most valuable website for my practice. Their patient handouts are free and very detailed but not very user-friendly. Parents can also find free detailed 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 (www.cochrane.org/cochrane-reviews). UpToDate offers free 30-day trials.
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. Visit their website (www.hon.ch) for details.
Those of you looking for Beijing-specific health and wellness information can check out my own website at www.myhealthbeijing.com I’m proud to say that my website is officially certified by the above-mentioned NGO Health on the Net Foundation.
Need more info? American Dr. Richard Saint Cyr works at International Medical Center Beijing and runs a blog, www.myhealthbeijing.com