Top positive review
72 people found this helpful
GREAT home reference!
on September 12, 2005
This reference book is easy to use and understand. When I first leaned of this home edition version of the Merck manual I was hesitant. Over the years many books have been published that are medical in nature, some published by doctors, but the content is watered down or so vague that a layperson doesn't derive much information from it. Some books are actually condescending in attitude, some patronizing. So many books briefly skim symptoms and then caution to call a physician for more information.
My son was diagnosed on the phone by our pediatrician with chicken pox and it was made clear that they did not want to see him for a physical exam. I was given a tiny bit of information by the office staff but was still curious for more information. I spent over an hour surfing the Internet looking for information but found watered down information, repeated many times over on multiple websites, including some written by physicians intended for laypeople to use. I looked at my parenting books written by doctors (one titled "The Portable Pediatrician") and was still lacking any substantial information.
But when I consulted the Merck Manual home edition, (which I had forgotten I bought recently and had not yet used), I was surprised at the level of information given. There are many details that I had not found elsewhere, such as number of days from exposure to outbreak, how long it takes the pox to change from first appearance to crusted over, about how long the infection lasts, and treatment suggestions. Reasons why some children have a mild outbreak vs. a severe outbreak were even provided, something I had not found anywhere else.
The information here is not dumbed down in that it is not so vague that it is not useful. There is a lot of information here but it is written in a style for the layperson to understand. I appreciated the writing style, which presents information to the non-physician without putting on airs.
Anyone who, like me, prefers to gather information and learn about things rather than making a call or office visit to their doctor to get just one opinion will appreciate owning this book. At about 1500 pages it covers many illnesses and ailments. If you are interested in this book I suggest you buy it so that you have it at your fingertips 24 hours a day, for whatever may arise. I am not suggesting this take the place of a doctor, but I know from working with physicians that there are certain calls that are non-emergent in nature that are not appreciated when the office is closed!
Note: I write this review in 6/2002 and don't know why the review never appeared here. I am resubmitting it over three years later. I have been using this book regularly since I wrote this review for many ailments and it has never disappointed me. I am still very happy with it.