Help Teens Get a Handle on Their Health!

With the weather changing (and changing again, and changing back, etc.) and the adrenaline rush of finals starting to subside, it’s time to think about teen health.

Whether teens have been chronically ill all their life or are just starting to get that weird tingle in the back of their throat, there are reasons to make sure that they get the kind of health care they need. Unfortunately, there are some traps that can keep them from visiting a doctor:

  • No health care – According to the 2007 Census, 11% of all minors are without health coverage. While many teens might take for granted that they can cheaply see a doctor for a stomach ache, it’s sadly not the case for everyone.
  • Busyness and presenteeism – Even if teens have access to health care, they might feel like they don’t have the time — or inclination — to use it. Their parents might be too busy to take them to the doctor for “little things,” or their coaches might tell them to “be a man” and fight through sickness.

A number of great online resources exist to get teens through cold season, as well as any other health issues they might be battling. Of course, no online resource is a good substitute for a doctor, but it is a start.

Insure Kids Now! – If a teen doesn’t currently have health insurance,’ a recent government bill might make them eligible for free or low-cost coverage.’  They can use this program to find their state’s program and start their parents on the path toward applying.

TeensHealth‘ – TeensHealth is part of the award-winning KidsHealth Network, a project of the Nemours Center.’  The center was founded as a place where pediatricians and other medical experts develop health media free of “doctor speak,” and is reviewed regularly for accuracy.’  It also has a Spanish-language componenent‘ por la salud de los jovenes!

TeenHealthFX‘ – TeenHealthFX is a nationally-renowned teen health site funded by Atlantic Health’s – Morristown Memorial Hospital and Overlook Hospital.’  The site has it’s own Teen Advisory Board and aims to be a comprehensive place where general health info exists side-by-side with the “traditionally teen.”

MedlinePlus‘ – MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine‘ and has two teen-specific pages: Teen Health‘ and Teens’ Page‘ are specific (though slightly redundant) pathfinders that lead teens to a number of specific health issues and various bits of research.’  It also scrapes articles from PubMed‘ related to teen health.

Adolescent Health Transition Project‘ – This important resource from Center on Human Development and Disability‘ (CHDD) at the University of Washington‘ gives teens with special health care needs due to chronic disease, disability, or developmental issues a resource to help them transition into independent young adulthood.

TeenGrowth’ ‘ – TeenGrowth is a simple, yet effective Q&A site from the Pediatric Health Alliance.’  It’s easy to navigate and includes some sections that you might not usually find on teen health pages, like information on sports injuries and doctor visits.

~Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.
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