Return to Health Resources
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.
- For assistance with your health-related research, you can contact the Adult Services department through our form, or call 908-322-5007, x204.
- You also have the option of using the Consumer Library Information Prescription (CLIP) program, a free medical information service provided by the Atlantic Health System Libraries.
- Explore our Healthy Living Resources page for more ways to stay fit and well, including online classes!
General Medical Information
- MedlinePlus – from the National Library of Medicine, this resource offers reliable, up-to-date information written in plain language. Health Topics is a good starting point for most health information inquiries. You can access information in multiple languages by language and by topic.
- Talking with Your Doctor or Healthcare Provider – this resource from the National Institutes of Health provides guidelines on how to talk to your doctor and prepare for a health appointment, including checklists of questions for specific conditions.
- Family Doctor – easy-to-read information provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Topics covered include diseases and conditions, wellness and prevention, family health, and health care management.
Library Databases (login with your library card number)
- Health Reference Center – provides clear and comprehensive information on conditions and diseases, health and wellness, mental health, and the human body.
- Health Source: Consumer Edition – provides access to full-text consumer health magazines and reference books. It also includes searchable full text for current health pamphlets.
- Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition – a full-text database covering nursing and allied health topics, including pediatric nursing, critical care, mental health, nursing management, medical law and more.
Drug & Consumer Product Information
- Drug Information Portal – the National Library of Medicine provides information on approximately 80,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications. Search by drug name or category.
- DailyMed Database – contains labeling submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by companies for products including prescription and nonprescription drugs and dietary supplements. (Labeling includes prescribing information, patient labeling, and carton and container labeling). Provides the NDC–the National Drug Code unique 10-digit identifier.
- Consumer Product Information Database – allows consumers to find information about the ingredients of products and their health effects. Provides the data needed for consumers to avoid brands with ingredients that they are sensitive to.
Find Further Information on these Topics:
- In the NCI’s About Cancer section, users will find information about causes and prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, coping, and managing care.
- live chat option at the top of the home page and other options for calling and emailing questions through NCI’s cancer information service.
- NCI’s Spanish-language site
- a wealth of information about all types of cancer, available in English and Spanish
- topics include cancer A-Z, staying healthy, and treatment and support
- also provides information about prevention, early detection, treatment, and managing side effects in 12 languages other than English including Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, and Korean
- cancer helpline and live chat options available from the homepage
- national organization dedicated to providing free professional support services to anyone diagnosed with cancer, as well as their friends, family, and caregivers
- large library of downloadable fact sheets on different types of cancer as well as more general topics such as care giving and communicating with your health care team
- provides access to online, telephone, and face-to-face support groups
Medical Library Association
Extensive list of cancer information websites compiled by the Cancer Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association.
Astera Cancer Classes
View our recordings of these classes offering up-to-date information on different cancers, presented by medical specialists.
Complementary & Alternative Medicine
First, some rough definitions:
- Complementary Medicine typically refers to a non-mainstream practice used together with conventional medicine.
- Alternative Medicine typically refers to a non-mainstream practice used in place of conventional medicine.
- Integrative Health Care aims to bring together conventional and complementary approaches in a coordinated way so as to focus on the whole person.
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.
MedlinePlus Complementary and Integrative Medicine
The CAM topics section of MedlinePlus brings together many CAM resources, mainly from the NIH.
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.
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.
Joslin Diabetes Center is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Their Education Library and Learning Center has a library of terms clearly describing topics such as A1-C, neuropathy, and insulin resistance.
- Search for or browse heart health topics
- Answers by Heart provides downloadable information sheets
- Animated videos on cardiovascular health topics
- Large health topics index
- Information on clinical trials
- Educational resources including patient handouts in pdf form, like these on managing high blood pressure, and videos, like these stories of the heart.
- Downloadable Heart Disease and Women Fact Sheets in both English and Spanish
- Information about nutrition and food safety
- The Topics section includes information on different diets, ingredients, nutrients, and food labeling.
Provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Resources on food, healthy eating, physical activity and food safety
- Science-based articles and tools that help you turn nutrition knowledge into daily practice
- Nutrition information from the USDA, including healthy, budget-friendly recipes
- Visit NJ SNAP-Ed for healthy recipes in partnership with Jersey Fresh, and links to local farmers markets
Nutritional & Dietary Supplements
An essential aspect of controlling your own healthcare is learning how to protect yourself against harmful products and potentially dangerous interactions between supplements and medications.
If you opt to take supplements of any kind, exercise your power of control by:
- understanding what we know and don’t know about supplements, and how supplements are (not) regulated
- getting your information from reliable, non-commercial sources
- staying up-to-date on announcements regarding harmful products
- avoiding harmful interactions by fully informing your healthcare provider about all the supplements you take
The following resources are provided to help you be a well-informed and safe consumer of supplements.
Start with these resources to help you make well-informed decisions about using supplements:
- Using Dietary Supplements Wisely – this excellent overview from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health covers what we know and don’t know about the safety and effectiveness of supplements. Sign up to get dietary supplement updates by e-mail!
- Frequently Asked Questions – Questions about the use, purchase, and regulation of supplements are answered by the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements. Included are links to independent organizations that perform quality tests to certify that products contain what their labels say they do, although this does not ensure the safety of any product.
Use these resources to understand how supplements, unlike drugs, are considered safe until proven unsafe:
- FDA 101: Dietary Supplements – supplements can legally be placed on the market without undergoing the safety testing that is required for prescription drugs! Read this important summary from the FDA on what you need to know to help protect yourself. Remember, the FDA can only act after the discovery of contamination, allergens, and fraud in products.
- FDA Regulation of Drugs versus Dietary Supplements – this overview from the American Cancer Society highlights the different ways drugs and supplements are treated and provides cautionary tales of products found to be harmful or contaminated.
Don’t rely on advertising claims when considering supplements! Use these resources to find unbiased information:
- Herbs & Supplements Information – from the National Library of Medicine‘s MedlinePlus: Browse or search this extensive list of dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and potential interactions.
- Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets – compiled by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: These fact sheets are available in versions for both consumers (in English and Spanish) and health professionals.
- Dietary Supplement Label Database – from the National Institutes of Health: this resource provides the full label information for dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. Search by products, ingredients, or manufacturers.
- About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products – From Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: this database offers guidance for the public and healthcare professionals on using common herbs and other dietary supplements. Covers: traditional and proven uses; potential benefits; possible adverse effects; and interactions with other herbs or medicines
- HerbList (App) – from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, use this app while you are shopping for herbal products to find information on the science and safety of popular herbs.
Check these resources to stay up-to-date on newly-reported issues.
- Alerts and Advisories – check here for notices from the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for updates on recalls and tainted products.
- FDA Recalls of Foods & Dietary Supplements – use the Filter’s drop down menu to select ‘Dietary Supplements.’
- Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List – from the FDA: “Consumers may wish to avoid purchasing or consuming dietary supplements that include these ingredients.” (Click on the arrow next to each ingredient name to see common synonyms). You may sign up for email updates to the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List.
Use these resources to inform yourself about the potential for interactions-but remember that healthcare providers have access to professional databases with more accurate and extensive information:
- Drug-Nutrient Interactions and Drug-Supplement Interactions – this resource from the American Academy of Family Physicians provides a good summary of how your medications, vitamins, and supplements can all interact, and a list of simple questions to ask your doctor that will help ensure your safety.
- Drugs.com Drugs Interaction Checker – this database includes supplements as well as prescription and non-prescription drugs; while it is a commercial site and does display ads, it provides documentation for the sources of all information provided.
- supp.AI – this database from the Allen Institute for AI uses artificial intelligence to search over 20 million published academic research articles for mentions of potential interactions. It is recommended as “way to start a conversation with a health provider.”
Review this fact sheet for helpful information on how to talk to your healthcare professional about supplements:
Resources for Teens
MedlinePlus – MedlinePlus, described on the main health information page, 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, also providing a place to ask and review questions.
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.
Digital Literacy—the newest offering from Rosen Digital—is a content-driven, visually stimulating, and media-rich online digital literacy and cyber citizenship resource specifically designed for students in grades 7–12. Digital Literacy informs and inspires learners about key digital literacy and cyber citizenship topics including entrepreneurship and careers; communication, cyberbullying, and safety; privacy and ethics; research skills and tools for the digital age; social networking; and gaming.
From personal finance and entrepreneurship to market economics and globalization, Financial Literacy makes economics and finance readily comprehensible and highly engaging. Articles explore macro-, micro-, and global economics as well as personal and household finance. Users will learn to manage credit and debt, invest with confidence, plan for retirement, and avoid fraud and scams.
Resources for Veterans
As the gateway to veteran health benefits and services, this site provides access to trusted health information, links to Federal and Veterans Administration benefits and resources, a personal health journal and online VA prescription refills for qualified registrants.
This organization has over 1 million members and is dedicated to providing free assistance to veterans in obtaining benefits and services earned through their military service.
This is a free resource and handbook for family and friends of service members during pre-deployment, deployment and reintegration.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center program operates a system of 207 community based counseling centers. The Vet Centers are staffed by small multi-disciplinary teams of dedicated providers, many of which are combat veterans themselves.
The National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) aims to advance the clinical care and social welfare of U.S. Veterans through research, education and training on PTSD and stress-related disorders. This site is an educational resource on PTSD and traumatic stress, for veterans and also for mental health care providers, researchers and the general public.
An anonymous screening tool, available in Spanish and English. This self-assessment questionnaire may help the user to determine whether or not current symptoms are consistent with a condition or concern that would benefit from further evaluation or treatment. It is not intended to provide a diagnosis, but can offer guidance as to where the user might also seek assistance.
SUPPORT GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS
The mission of this non-profit organization is to raise the awareness and enlist public aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet needs.
This 24/7/365 service is available by phone, online and face-to-face through private counseling sessions in the local community by highly qualified, master’s prepared consultants. Personalized consultations on specific issues such as education, special needs, and finances are provided.
This site provides information about a trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
The CDC has a collection of resources with vaccination information for parents, including a page on making the vaccine decision, vaccines recommended by age, and what to expect during a vaccine visit . This information is available in both English and Spanish.
The American Academy of Pediatrics hosts this site which provides information on childhood vaccinations, including vaccine schedules.
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.
Browse the health information in multiple languages page in MedlinePlus to find disease and vaccination information in a particular language.
The NJ COVID-19 vaccine hub and the NIH COVID-19 site provide reliable information for learning more about COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC has a page devoted to explaining mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how they work. NJ residents and workers may visit the state hub to schedule a vaccine appointment.
How to Evaluate Health Information
Health misinformation is common and spreads quickly! We’re all susceptible to being influenced by misinformation, so it’s important to know how to identify it, and how to counteract it. The Office of the Surgeon General has some excellent resources, including this one-page infographic, and a detailed toolkit that is worth reviewing and returning to.
- Finding Online Health Information – this resource from DigitalLearn.org offers short and simple video lessons to help you understand how to access reliable sources for health information, and how to avoid potentially harmful misinformation.
- How to Evaluate Internet Health Information – this MedlinePlus resource offers a downloadable checklist of criteria for use when you search for health information.
- Understanding Health Research – developed by researchers at the University of Glasgow, 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 reviewing health research.
Search for Research Articles & Studies
If you find articles for which the full text is not provided, you can use our Article Finder resource, and if needed, request a copy through interlibrary loan.
- 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.
- Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition – a full-text database covering nursing and allied health topics, including pediatric nursing, critical care, mental health, nursing management, medical law and more.
- 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.