Here’s what you need to fight colds and flu this season

January 4, 2018

In case you missed the headlines, cold and flu season is officially upon us.

If you’ve been clipart sitting with a group of people in an auditorium or classroom recently, you know what we’re talking about. Sneezes, sniffles, and coughs are all around us!

Heck, we sure don’t want to get sick. Do you?

So, let’s take some precautions to stay healthy.

The resources listed below provide some key information on the common cold and flu, prevention, how to recognize symptoms, and what to do if you, unfortunately, get sick.

The Basics
MedlinePlus Flu
MedlinePlus Common Cold
MedlinePlus What to Ask Your Doctor 

CDC Stop the Spread of Germs
Seasonal Flu Vaccination
Wash your hands

What happens if I get sick anyway? Figure out what you have:
Common Cold: How to Treat at Home

Need a good laugh? Here’s a Hamilton inspired rap about the flu vaccination.


Going to visit friends or family in an area with Zika?

April 27, 2017

As the end of the term and summer approach, we’ve all got a million gazillion things on our minds.

And if you’ll be traveling to an area with Zika, well, that’s even more to think about.

Lucky for us, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has done the thinking for us on this one. They’ve just published information that’ll help you plan before, during, and after your visit…”to keep yourself and your family safe!”

Yes, there’s a lot of information on their web page. But it’s chunked up, and nicely illustrated, and easy to navigate.  So, no excuses.

suitcaseIf you’re really, really short on time, the “Pack Like a Champ. Pack To Prevent Zika” video runs just about 1 minute. And it’s available in English and Spanish.

As our mums say, “Have fun. Be good. Stay safe.”

Affordable Care Act Information

December 4, 2013

What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services:

March 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), into law. The law makes preventive care—including family planning and related services—more accessible and affordable for many Americans.

Learn more about the ACA law here.

ACA Enrollment begins October 1, 2013, for coverage beginning January 1, 2014.

Selected resources for information about the ACA.

♦ Get Up-to-date information about enrollment and implementation.
♦ Read about key features of the Affordable Care Act.
♦ View a video about the new Health Care Marketplaces which will be going live October 1, 2013.
♦ Look up your state’s plan on state-by-state fact sheets.
♦ Here are the top 10 things to know about the health care law for special populations including women, clinicians, small businesses, and others.
♦ Sign up for text and email updates (scroll to the bottom of the page) about your state’s ACA implementation.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Marketplace will assist in identifying and selecting a health care plan that will meet individual and family needs. Open enrollment begins October 1, 2013.

A toll free number available 24/7, staffed by a customer service representative can answer questions about the health insurance Marketplace.  The number is: 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

New York State is offering information about the Marketplace through NY State of Health. NY State of Health is where individuals and families will shop for, compare, and buy health insurance coverage.

Also, you can get help with Obamacare at the Rochester Central Library.

Getting Ready for “Obamacare” (also known as the ACA)

The YouTunes “Get Ready for Obamacare” video is a fun and easy-to-understand look at the way individuals, families, and businesses will obtain health coverage.

Key Resources

♦ and its Spanish language counterpart is the website developed and maintained by the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Devoted to information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this site provides assistance in understanding the Insurance Marketplace for individuals, families, and businesses. It also answers questions for those with expanded concerns, women, youth, special needs, and those with chronic conditions.

♦ Blog posts from provides additional information and personal stories to assist individuals to better understand the new health insurance options.

♦ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Federal government website providing information and links to sites related to the ACA. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight provides in-person assistance in the health insurance marketplace for consumers to enable them to make informed choices when selecting health insurance options.  These assistants can be navigators, certified application counselors, or agents and brokers.

National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health produced this website in plain language on information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues.  Under Health Topics, Health Insurance, you will find considerable resources on ACA.

♦ National Networks of Libraries of Medicine
Comprised of eight regions within the US, the mission of the NN/LM is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing access to biomedical information.  Many regions have a resource-rich website providing ACA information.

♦ Middle Atlantic Region (NY, NJ, Penn, Del)

♦ American Library Association (ALA)
American Library Association (ALA) President Barbara Stripling and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Director Susan Hildreth issued the following joint statement:“Providing resources that help librarians answer patron requests for health insurance information furthers the long-standing commitment of both IMLS and ALA to make information more widely available to the public. We are delighted to help connect libraries to these resources so they can provide timely information to their customers.

While libraries provide information in a way that best suits their own communities, IMLS and ALA stand ready to help all libraries prepare for the anticipated increased demand for health-related information.”

Additionally, ALA has a website with information on the role of libraries in responding to inquiries on the ACA as well as providing links to key resources from related organizations and agencies.

♦ Medical Library Association (MLA)
MLA is providing background information on the ACA, including a summary and implementation timeline on the provisions of the bill, highlighting those of specific interest to the medical library community.

♦ State Health Insurance Marketplace Profiles
Here you’ll find an in-depth look at the progress each state is making in setting up health insurance marketplaces (exchanges).

♦ Kaiser Family Foundation
The Topics Page on Health Reform provides extensive information on health reform and the ACA.

FAQs on Health Reform

Sick Girl Speaks! Now Available at Miner

October 26, 2011

In September, Tiffany Christensen – cystic fibrosis survivor and recipient of two double lung transplants – visited URMC and spoke with insight and passion about being her own patient advocate. Tiffany’s book, Sick Girl Speaks! Lessons and Ponderings Along the Road to Acceptance, is now available at Miner Library.

Tiffany’s prose is just as riveting as her “on-stage” delivery. Sick Girl Speaks! blends lessons Tiffany learned about advocating for herself with reflections on the spiritual aspects of illness, excerpts from her personal journals, and plenty of humor.

Tiffany has also authored We Are the Change: Transforming the Healthcare Experience through Partnership to inspire patients, families, and providers who want to build a more a patient-centered healthcare culture. We Are the Change is a workbook that guides patients and families through levels of empowerment, while providing medical professionals with strategies for partnering with them. This collection of practical tools, exercises, and information, together with Tiffany’s personal reflections, will be at Miner’s New Books display in November and available for borrowing later in the month.

2 to watch in 2011

December 30, 2010

Here are two interesting websites to explore in the New Year. Both are dedicated to informing you – as a patient, as a health care provider, as a medical educator, as a researcher. Take a look.


This website reviews and rates media stories about health care. Their stated goals are: (1) to improve the accuracy of news stories about medical treatments, tests, products, and procedures; and, (2) to help consumers evaluate the evidence for and against new ideas in health care. The website is transparent about their rating schema and their reviewers. Patients will find it helpful in deciphering medical stories in the news. Health care providers will be alerted to what news stories are out there and how those stories have been presented.



This is a blog written by Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, MD. Marcus is the  managing editor for Anesthesiology News. Oransky is the executive editor of Reuters Health and a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. The two of them monitor and record retractions in scientific journals. Why? It is often difficult to find this sort of information – it is not well publicized, generally. They want to better understand the retraction process – from how long it takes a journal to retract an article to how long it takes for that information to filter out to the people who use that information. And, finally, because retractions are a window to the scientific process. While patients may not express a great deal of interest in this, educators and researchers will find it worth monitoring.

How do I know if that herb is good for me?

November 22, 2010

MedclinePlusAre you, your family, or your patients, looking for free, high quality information on herbs and supplements?  Look no more! The National Library of Medicine recently announced:

“MedlinePlus® released 100 new English and Spanish monographs on a broad range of dietary supplements and herbal remedies. The new content is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version (NMCD). Some of the highlights of the new monographs include:

♦ Descriptions of herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and how they work.
♦ Effectiveness ratings for different indications.
♦ Safety concerns, including special precautions and warnings.
♦ Information on interactions with medications, foods, and other herbs and supplements.
♦ Dosages that have been studied in scientific research.
♦ Extensive lists of references, with links to PubMed®.
♦ A “Share” button on each monograph that allows users to easily share the content with friends and family.

The content from NMCD replaces the Natural Standard monographs that were previously on MedlinePlus®. If you bookmarked any monographs from Natural Standard, MedlinePlus® will automatically redirect you to the new information when equivalent content is available. Please review and update your bookmarks.”

Just use this link to connect to the MedlinePlus® Herbs and Supplements website.

Free Class on Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals

April 16, 2010

Limited health literacy affects nine out of ten adults and impacts their capacity to fully manage their health.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free, web-based course called Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals to help public health professionals understand the importance of health literacy and their role in promoting it. Public health professionals can use health literacy principles and approaches to improve epidemiologic investigations, surveillance, communications with the public, and dissemination of findings and recommendations.

The course is organized in four modules and includes knowledge checks, links to practical tools and resources, and video clips. The online course can be accessed 24/7 by any computer with internet access. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete and qualifies for continuing education credit for nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and health educators.  The course must be completed before 9/14/2011 to receive CE credit.

 Register for Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals at: