Simple scientific guide for identifying and treating common illnesses?
February 14, 2014 9:25 PM   Subscribe

When I start to feel a cold coming on, the last thing I want to do is spend time and energy trying to figure out the best treatment approach. I am seeking a guide that will help me identify and self-treat common/mild illnesses (both attacking the root cause and alleviating symptoms) as well as indicate when it would be wise to see a doctor. I would prefer a printout rather than an interactive tool like WebMD.
posted by gray17 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I believe you are describing the Healthwise Handbook. It is available on line, but it started as a handbook and still seems to be available in that form. Even though I am a nurse, I still refer to it often. It's simple, easy to use, clearly written and full of good advice. Use it and you'll never feel silly for going for going to the doctor again.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:40 PM on February 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

You aren't the target audience but you might find "where there is no doctor" (PDF) useful.
posted by lollusc at 11:53 PM on February 14, 2014

The book Take Care of Yourself allows you to look at flowcharts related to your symptoms which tell you what you should do (how to do self-care at home if that's indicated, and when to make a doctor's appointment, and when to call the doctor ASAP). It's pretty awesome, and if you get an older edition they sell them on Amazon for a penny plus shipping.
posted by feets at 4:39 AM on February 15, 2014

Here's a look-up resource from the UK NHS that's useful. You can also pretend to be British (use one of the sample postal codes they give at the relevant screen) and try their interactive symptom checker as well--but many scenarios will end with, "Please call an NHS nurse for further assessment."
posted by blue suede stockings at 9:14 AM on February 15, 2014

I concur with feets above. I heartily recommend Take Care of Yourself. There is also "Taking Care of Your Child" which has the same presentation as Take Care of Yourself but intended for caregivers of kids.

When I have medical questions, I start with the Merck Home Health Handbook. It's available in print forms, but it's free online. Once I read the relevant sections there, I likely have the background needed to understand the Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals which is meant to be a guide for medical professionals.
posted by fief at 5:10 PM on February 15, 2014

I haven't used the Taking Care of Yourself book, but it sounds very similar to the American Medical Association Family Medical Guide, which I have used for many years. I do not have the latest version, but it sounds like it is even better. Love the symptom flow charts!
posted by freezer cake at 7:58 PM on February 18, 2014

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