The Internet and your health

Oct. 1, 1998
We are all members of the dental profession. Our chosen field can no longer concentrate solely on the oral cavity and the problems we find there. We have to treat our patients` oral needs as a part of their total, physical-health picture. We need to work very closely with physicians and understand the medical problems and issues that affect our shared patients. Both of our professions are changing very quickly, and it is very difficult to keep up with all of these advances.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS

We are all members of the dental profession. Our chosen field can no longer concentrate solely on the oral cavity and the problems we find there. We have to treat our patients` oral needs as a part of their total, physical-health picture. We need to work very closely with physicians and understand the medical problems and issues that affect our shared patients. Both of our professions are changing very quickly, and it is very difficult to keep up with all of these advances.

This is where the Internet becomes very important. A myriad of Web sites can give you useful information on any illness, physical condition, or drugs that your patients (or you and your family) may need to learn more about. There is no substitute for good, solid information when you are dealing with health issues.

Gathering such information begins with a good search engine, such as Yahoo (www.yahoo.com), AltaVista (altavista.digital.com), Infoseek (www2.infoseek.com), Excite (www.excite.com), or Lycos (www.lycos.com). When using these sites, try to narrow your search down as much as possible using quotation marks, "+" or "-" signs, and the words "and" and "or" to help you find what you are looking for in a more timely manner. Many different techniques are available to you. (Refer back to my Internet column on the use of search engines in the May issue of Dental Economics.)

If you need more information than what you can find through the search engines, the following sites can be quite useful - and in some instances, fun to use:

Health A to Z: www.healthatoz.com

This is a "search engine" for health and medicine topics. It has extensive links to just about anything in the health field, from fitness to pharmaceuticals to veterinary medicine to mental health.

HealthyNet: www.healthy.net

This is Health World Online. It has a large news-feature section, along with an extensive library of information.

FitnessPartner: www.primusweb.com/fitnesspartner

This site is dedicated to fitness topics. You can find training and fitness activities, fitness activities for children, food and nutrition advice, fitness products, and an extensive training library.

MayoHealth: healthnet.ivi.com

This site, originating at the Mayo Clinic, contains news articles and a large reference center.

MedicineNet: www.medicinenet.com

At this site, you will find a wealth of medical information on diseases and treatment options, as well as a pharmacy section.

Your Health Daily: yourhealthdaily.com

You will find an abundance of knowledge on countless health topics here.

Medscape: www.medscape.com

This is a very large medical database. You can search for any topic you desire and gather references to work with.

National Institute of Health: www.nih.gov

This site, too, is a very large database, sponsored by the U.S. government.

Pharminfo: pharminfo.com

At this site, you can gather information on drugs and diseases.

RxList: www.rxlist.com

This is an Internet drug index. It is like having a drug-reference book online.

As you can see from these listings, the Internet can be an excellent source for gathering information about medical issues that we face in our day-to-day practices and in our personal lives. Once you get started using this resource, you will find yourself referring to it, instead of that library of books on the shelves of your private office.

Let your fingers do the walking on your keyboard, so you can become a valuable source of information about health matters for both your patients and your family.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesperson and critical-issue-response-team chairperson for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone, (314) 567-5612; or fax: (314) 567-9047.

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