Winter in the Bay Area is under way, which means a few things:

  • We’ve seen more rain in the past week than all of 2016 combined.
  • Unless you live in some kind of sterile bubble, your kids have come down with whatever new bug is going around.
  • Parents here—and all over the rest of the world—are going crazy listening to the whining.

It’s because of all that whining—and the medical issues that are causing it—that I’m spending a lot of quality time these days with the Merck Manual Consumer app.

Never heard of it? Well, think back to the last time you took your child (or yourself) to the doctor. Chances are very good that the doc (or nurse or other provider) has a copy of the Merck Manual on his or her desk. The Manual is the world’s most widely used medical reference book, and has been around forever. About two decades ago, Merck launched a new line of manuals specifically designed to give those of us who don’t own a white lab coat access to some great medical information.

Which brings me back to the Merck Manual Consumer app, which is free, contains a lot of the same good stuff that’s in the Merck Manuals, and, once you install it, allows you take tons of helpful information everywhere you go.

Besides being a great way for you to decipher what your doctor is saying, the app includes rundowns of common medical tests and normal results ranges. It has an interactive symptom-checker, which is an absolute must-have for parents whose kids who are showing early signs of the plague or whatever illness everyone else has. Just enter the symptoms and the app will show you a wide range of possible causes as well as some home remedies for treating them. Best of all, it also tells you when you should take your child to the doctor.

merck manual app stridorLet’s take croup as an example. Croup, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a nasty cough that sounds like a seal barking. If it weren’t a little scary, it might be funny. Anyway, a term that gets thrown around a lot with croup is “stridor.” But who the heck knows what stridor is? Well, the Merck Manual Consumer app does, and, if you’re interested, it’s got an audio of what stridor actually sounds like. Not exactly my idea of a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday night, but if you’re unsure, it’s a great feature.

Bottom line, the Merck Manual Consumer app gives you touch-of-the-fingertip access to the same medical information that healthcare professionals do. Plus, it’s absolutely free, doesn’t ask you for any personal information, and there are no ads within the app. Download it in the iTunes Store or the Google Play store.

Stay healthy, my friends.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, the ideas and opinions are strictly my own.