The information provided by Scotch Plains Public Library and its employees does not imply medical recommendation, endorsement or approval. Information from these sources are intended for use as general information. All consumer health information should be reviewed with your health care professional for clarification about how this information may or may not apply to your unique clinical situation or overall health.
In addition to these online resources, Adult Scotch Plains resident cardholders can check out one of our health literacy totes, which contain books, DVDs or CDs, and pamphlets on nine different health topics.
Do you use supplements, or are you considering taking them? See our new guide to resources that will help you be a well-informed and safe consumer of supplements!
General Health Information
This site is maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and has reliable, up-to-date information on a wide-range of health topics written in plain language. Browsing the health topics is a good starting point for most health information inquiries, including those topics listed below with additional resources. There are also links on the homepage to drugs and supplements information, videos, and medical test information. At the bottom of the homepage, users can access easy-to-read materials (some available in a downloadable PDF format), health info in multiple languages, and directories for doctors and other healthcare providers.
The NIH health info page has a link to a list of health information phone numbers, a “clear health” section providing basic, accessible health information by topic A-Z, and a section on how to talk to your doctor and prepare for a health appointment.
This NIH site provides information on approximately 80,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications and can be searched by drug name or category.
HealthReach provides multilingual, multicultural patient education materials on a variety of health-related topics. The site is provided by the NIH and the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Evaluating Health Information
This MedlinePlus resource helps you learn how to evaluate online health information, and offers a downloadable checklist of criteria for use when you search for health information
This resource from the U.K.’s National Health Service looks at recent health news stories and evaluates whether they accurately report what the researchers really found.
This site will guide you through a series of questions to help you to review and interpret a published health research paper. It also offers introductions to some important concepts and skills (such as correlation and causation) that you may find useful when making sense of health research.
In the National Cancer Institute’s About Cancer section, users will find information about causes and prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, coping, and managing care. There is live chat option at the top of the home page and other options for calling and emailing questions through NCI’s cancer information service.
The diabetes section of this NIH site has a straight-forward overview of diabetes, its symptoms and causes, tests and treatments, management, and prevention of diabetes related problems.
In addition to general information about diabetes, this website has a large section on food and fitness and also includes an online community for support. In the “in my community” section, users can locate their local diabetes education office and search for nearby events.
In addition to general mental health information and what to look for with respect to different clinical disorders, MentalHealth.gov has a treatment locator, hotline numbers for immediate help, and an FAQ section on health insurance and mental health coverage.
NAMI is a grassroots mental health organization. This site provides descriptions of various mental health conditions in its Learn More section. There is also a crisis hotline and local NAMI program locator. In addition, the site provides a fact sheet library for downloadable information on mental health conditions and treatment and services, including some resources in Spanish.
SAMHSA has a treatment locator section which also includes crisis hotline numbers. The publications section has free downloadable informational brochures organized by category.
The American Psychological Association provides this tool for finding a psychologist.
The American Heart Association website allows users to search for or browse heart health topics and has a large collection of Answers by Heart downloadable information sheets. In addition, the site offers a library of animated videos on cardiovascular health topics.
This site is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The patient materials section offers downloadable Heart Disease and Women Fact Sheets in both English and Spanish.
This website provides information about nutrition and food safety. The Topics section includes information on different diets, ingredients, nutrients, and food labeling.
This site, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers resources on food, healthy eating, physical activity and food safety.
Offers science-based articles and tools that help you turn nutrition knowledge into daily practice.
Resources for Teens
MedlinePlus, described above, provides a Teen Health page which includes information for both teens and their parents. In addition, the websites below are specifically dedicated to health information aimed at teens.
The Center for Young Women’s Health is maintained by Boston Children’s Hospital and has information on topics ranging from general health, sexual health, nutrition and fitness, and mental health. The ask us tab at the top provides a place for young women to submit questions to professionals and to browse previously asked questions with their answers. Young Men’s Health is a similar site for young men.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens is a division of the NIH. It has a section on drug facts and provides a library of videos. This site links to an easy-to-read drug facts site, also sponsored by the NIH.
The award-winning Teen Health & Wellness provides middle and high school students with up-to-date, nonjudgmental, straightforward curricular, and self-help support. Articles are correlated to state, national, and provincial standards, including Common Core Health and Science. Topics covered include diseases, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, mental health, suicide, bullying, LGBTQ+ issues, and more.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
The CDC has a collection of resources with vaccination information for parents available as downloadable PDFs. These are available in both English and Spanish.
The American Academy of Pediatrics hosts this site which provides information on childhood vaccinations, including vaccine schedules.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FDA provides a childhood vaccination guide for parents and caregivers.
Vaccine Information Statements
The Immunization Action Coalition provides links to the CDC’s Vaccine Information Statements in multiple languages. These statements explain both the benefits and the risks of the named vaccine.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health provides evidence-based information on complementary and alternative health topics. The site has a page with tips on how to be an informed consumer when it comes to selecting complementary health services and products.
American Holistic Medical Association (AHHA)
The American Holistic Medical Association encourages people to actively participate in their health and healthcare. AHHA compiles wellness resources and shares them as a public service.
Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM)
OCCAM was established to coordinate and enhance the activities of the National Cancer Institute in the area of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Information is available on CAM issues related to cancer, research, and clinical trials. The “for patients” section has links to useful resources such as FAQs on cancer and CAM, a workbook to help you talk with your doctor about CAM, and FAQs for selecting a CAM practitioner.
If you take supplements, or are considering it, use our new guide to resources that will help you inform and protect yourself.
Search for Research Articles
See Understanding Health Research for help interpreting this type of resource.
Academic Search Premier – login to this subscription database with your library card number. You can check off Peer Reviewed Journals to limit your search to original research articles, and Full Text for articles you can read in full.
BMC (BioMedCentral) – a free database (no login needed) that includes peer-reviewed medical journals from the publisher SpringerNature.
PubMed.gov – this free database from the National Library of Medicine lets you search peer-reviewed medical journals. Find help with the search process and learn how to access the full text of articles when available.
Consumer Library Information Prescription
SPPL librarians are here to help you locate health and wellness information. In the event that you need further assistance, the librarians at the Robert H. Mulreany Health Science Library at Overlook Hospital provide a Consumer Library Information Prescription (CLIP) service to patients, their families and caregivers, and the local general public. Upon request, a medical librarian will research and deliver information on any health topic. SPPL has copies of the print request forms at the Adult Services Desk. In addition, users can request information online here.