Consumer Health Information Online

Welcome and Overview

The Shasta College Library offers a variety of materials to assist you with your research and course preparation, including books, e-books, print periodicals, online periodical and encyclopedia databases, DVDs, videos, and more. The resources below are just a sample of what is available to you through your library, both in hard copy and online, 24/7.

Internet Sites

*NOTE: Most of the following databases will require the user to select from menus and/or pages before arriving at the desired information. Be patient and try to become familiar with the navigation tools specific for the database.

Databases with Comprehensive Coverage

Maintained by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus is a comprehensive collection of databases linking resources from governmental, educational and professional agencies. Searchable in English or Spanish by keywords or major access points including the following:
    • Diseases, conditions and wellness alphabetically by topic
    • Drug Information for prescription and over-the-counter medicine
    • Medical Encyclopedia, and Dictionary Directories for finding doctors, dentists and hospitals
    • Health news from the past 30 days
    • Clinical trials
    • Interactive tutorials (slide shows with sound and pictures)
    • Toll-free Hotlines by health condition or by organization
  • The following URL will take you to a detailed tour (about 5 minutes) of this

WebMd is a commercial site with advertisements and sponsors that are clearly marked and text provided and reviewed by an authoritative editorial board. There is a comprehensive assortment of information and linkage to databases for consumers, practitioners, or health plan agencies, including . The consumer health portion, WebMD Health, is searchable by keyword or through access points that provide guides to diseases, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, tests, support games, videos, medication, and news. Major sections are by gender, geography (by states in the USA) and a special section on children. All aspects of health and fitness are covered.


Healthfinder is a service of the National Information Center and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, designed to be very user-friendly it is searchable by keyword or by access points providing links to a variety of relevant sites on a given subject or in a specified language. The Health Library locates information on diseases, procedures, prevention or wellness. The Drug Interaction Checker links to a noncommercial site. There are links to organizatons, to online checkups and to a host of consumer guides by topic, age, gender, ethnicity, race, as well as language.

Databases with EXTENSIVE COVERAGE by Subject or Agency

Maintained by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and the National Agricultural Library, there are links to a host of other governmental and professional sites relevant to all aspects of food and nutrition. Search by keyword or browse by topics such as the following: Food Composition, Dietary Supplements, Weight Management, Nutrition Recommendations (by gender), Diseases and Disorders, Shopping, Cooking & Meal Planning (with recipes), Food Allergy, Sports & Exercise, Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramids, Food Assistance Programs.

is an authoritative source of data and original articles aimed at enabling consumers to manage their health. There is comprehensive, reliable coverage on Diseases and Conditions, Drugs and Supplements, Treatment Decision and numerous aspects of Health Living. In addition, there are slide show, short videos, blogs, as well as interactive self-assessment tools and calculators for disease risk estimates. Users may communicate with a specialist or subscribe to an e-Newsletter.

is the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention providing access to information on birth defects, disabilities, emergency preparedness, environmental health, life stages and populaton, genetics and genomics, traveler’s health, injuries, violence and saefty, vaccines and vaccinations, workplace safety and statistics. Publications such as Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, MMWR, Preventing Chronic Disease Journal and others are available online or by subscription.

, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration maintains this website containing a large collection of databases for consumers, health professionals, and industry and law enforcement. Food, drugs, medical devices, biologicals, animal feed, cosmetics and other products regulated by the FDA, as well as recalls, product safety problems, approvals, research, regulations and publications.

, the website for the World Health Organization provides information and links to other sources on diseases and other health topics of worldwide importance. Research, publications, statistics, maps, news governance and other WHO activities are covered.

is the website for the California Department of Health Services providing access to information on state and local health organizations and issues, emergency preparedness, career opportunities, projects, services with links to a variety of relevant sites such as those for minority health information or local epidemics.

. The full text of several of the Merck publications is available in English and other languages. (E.g., The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, The Merck Veterinary Manual, and others)


is a website that track rumors, hoaxes, frauds and other misinformation traveling cyberspace particularly via email. Although it covers a multitude of subject areas, it is also useful for health hoaxes such as the pros and cons of plastic containers.

is a commercial site that provides up-to-date, comprehensive information for consumers and professionals on over 24,000 approved drugs. Browse alphabetically, by medical condition, by symptoms, by manufacturer, or source (Thomson Micromedex, PDR, Wolters Kluwer Health or Cemer Multum). Included is a section on pill identification.

is a “peer-reviewed, non-commercial, patient centered” site maintained by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and sponsored by a number of clinical laboratories and manufacturers of diagnostic systems providing up-to-date information on tests, screening procedures and recommendations for related sources.

    • provides a (surprisingly) selective and well-balanced list of links to government organizations and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The sources were selected to supplement the Frontline Show The Alternative Fix, aired in 2003 on PBS. Topics such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and dietary supplements, plus interviews with both supporters and critics were featured in the show. Alternatively, you can go directly to

Government sponsored, academic, nonprofit and professional organizations with missions related to a specific condition such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease et al. can be found through the comprehensive health portals as they are usually listed at the end of articles or can be selected from the alphabetical lists of organizations. Be wary of the commercial sites that are aimed, primarily, at selling products rather than providing objective, unbiased information. Sites such as,,,, offer information for patients, family, friends, survivors, volunteers, and health professionals. There is often interactive help for making decisions about treatment, clinical trials, and other management tools. Numerous links lead to news, local community centers, research, training, and publications.

POISON CONTROL CENTERS Call in emergencies 1-800-222-1222 or find a center through

For additional internet sites visit the Librarians' Internet Index,

EBSCO family of Databases

    • Provide access to current information, research, and Government resources
    • Databases may be searched individually or simultaneously. The most pertinent EBSCO Databases include the following: Health Source- Consumer Edition or Nursing/ Academic Edition, and Alternative Health Watch.
    • Many publications are available in full text
    • Most EBSCO databases are searchable with Library of Congress Subject headings, thus allowing for greater precision in searching.

Ask A Librarian

Obtain a Library Card

    • Faculty teaching solely online and students enrolled solely for Internet courses and those working or taking classes at a Distance Education site should follow this link to obtain their Shasta College Library card: Online library card application Note: Faculty members should enter their Shasta College ID# in the Student ID field).
    • Faculty and students teaching or enrolled in classes at the main Redding campus must visit the library's circulation desk to obtain their library card.

Shasta College Library, Reference (530) 242-7551, Circulation (530) 242-7550, Ask-a-Librarian (530) 242-2347

[rb 2/4/2009]