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Take Care of Yourself
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care
By Donald M. Vickery and James F. Fries

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Take Care of Yourself

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Take Care of Yourself: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care
7th Edition
By Donald M. Vickery and James F. Fries
Perseus Books, Cambridge Massachusetts, (2001)
ISBN: 0-7382-0306-8
Genre: Health

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 14, 2002

Take Care of Yourself is an encyclopedic volume of health advice that cover over 175 medical and health related topics. The topics are organized into thematic chapters, such as Prevention, the Home Pharmacy, Common Injuries, Childhood Illnesses, Women's Health, Sexual Problems, Skin Problems, and Working with Your Doctor, to name but a few. Also included is a detailed guide on how to use the book, and how to interpret the information provided. This book was written by two medical doctors, Donald M. Vickery M.D., and James F. Fries M.D., and this edition of Take Care of Yourself has been completely revised and updated.

This is a very user friendly guide book. You can look for advice by topic or by symptom. Each entry offers a brief overview of the topic, or symptom, and then offers advice on ways of treating the problem at home, and what to expect if you go to your doctor for treatment. Each topic also includes a medical decision chart, and when applicable illustrations that highlight points made in the text.

In addition to coauthoring this book, Vickery also "...helped develop medical decision charts for non-doctors" (back cover). These handy charts are like old Basic programing charts. They proffer a statement, if you answer no, the chart directs you in one direction, if you answer yes, in another, and so forth until your find the treatment or information that you need. For example, the decision chart on hearing loss (pg. 113) offers the following advice: "Is the hearing associated with ear pain?" If you answer yes, you are directed to seek medical care, today. If you answer no, you are asked another question. In this case, "Is ear wax known to be causing the hearing loss?" If you answer no, you are directed to make an appointment to see your doctor in the near future. If you answered yes, you are directed to use the home treatment listed in the book, and to also look at the entry on Ear Discharges. This is a very brief example of the medical decision charts in this book. Many are much more extensive.

Besides covering basic health problems, this book also offers a convenient section on health related emergencies. The pages in this section are edged in black so that you can find it easily. This section includes information on how to tell when you should call an ambulance and what symptoms may indicate an emergency situation. Also included is a section on choking, and instructions on how to do the Heimlich maneuver for adults, small children, and infants, as well as poisoning emergencies and what to do if it has occurred.

Take Care of Yourself is an excellent book to have in your home. This book will easily pay for itself if it helps you prevent one health problem, or one unnecessary trip to the doctor. It will also prove invaluable if it helps you make the sometimes difficult decision to call an ambulance or dial 911. On the cover of this book is the statement "Proven to Reduce Doctor Visits," this is a statement that I fully believe it to be accurate.


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