Take Care of Yourself: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care

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9780738203065: Take Care of Yourself: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care

Take Care of Yourself is the world's best-selling health guide, and the only one that has been found to help reduce visits to the doctor. It is easy to use, even in a crisis. Simply look up a symptom and you will find a complete explanation of likely causes and how you might relieve that problem at home. Diagrams help you recognize problems and, in many cases, treat them quickly and easily. Easy-to-follow decision charts tell you exactly when to see a doctor. Take Care of Yourself also covers emergencies, how to avoid health problems, what to keep in a home pharmacy, and how to work best with your doctor.

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Review:

"In our quest for a symptom-free existence, we make millions of unnecessary visits to doctors--as many as 70% of all visits are for new problems," write the authors, both physicians. "For every type of problem, there are some instances in which you should decide to see the doctor and some in which you should not." How do you decide? That's where Take Care of Yourself comes in.

Here's how it works. When you have a new medical problem, first read the emergency signs in the "Emergencies" chapter to see if you need to get medical attention pronto. If not (and most medical situations are not emergencies), look up your main complaint or symptom. There you find a decision flow chart that asks you yes/no questions, and your answers direct you to a probable cause and either medical care or home treatment. If home treatment is appropriate, you get an explanation of what to do, what not to do, and when to see your doctor if the problem doesn't go away. If a doctor's visit is recommended, you learn what to expect when you get there. There's not much detail on any one topic: one and one-half to two pages on each of more than 175 health problems (large and small), including charts and illustrations. But it's a handy guide and a good first step when it's essential to know what to do quickly, and for that reason several major HMOs distribute it to their members.

Because good health habits help you avoid medical problems, you get a brief guide to getting started with exercise, good nutrition, smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, weight control, avoiding injury, and professional prevention (checkups, screening, early treatment, etc.). It's also an interesting to read in a Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook kind of way--who knows when you might need to know how to pull out a tick, or release trapped blood under a nail using a heated paper clip and pliers? --Joan Price

About the Author:

Donald M. Vickery, M.D., is head of the Self-Care Institute in Colorado. James F. Fries, M.D., is Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.

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