Friday, July 25, 2014

"THE BIG BOOK OF SYMPTOMS: A–Z GUIDE TO YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH" from AAP is a Must Have For Parents and Caregivers (Book Review)

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  Even though I was compensated for my time in reviewing and sharing about this book, all views I share are mine and mine alone.

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2 Pap/Chrt edition (July 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581108400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581108408
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.7 inches

My educational background is in public health, and I spent 12+ years as a community health educator in both a hospital and non-profit setting. When I wasn't putting on health fairs and screenings for the community and companies, I would spend my days sitting in the office and offering up patient education for people who were newly diagnosed with a medical condition/illness, or were a caregiver looking for additional information.  During my time as a health educator, I learned about both pediatric and adult illnesses/conditions and ways to manage them, and would be able to offer up support through handouts and online resources for those in need.  This expertise came in handy when I found myself battling cancer in 2008. Prior to my diagnosis, it took 10 doctors and over a year over tests and medical appointments to finally have a local ENT find and diagnosis my cancer, which by that time had travelled to the lymph nodes in my neck, thus moving me from stage 1 to stage 2 cancer.  I was persistent and knowledgeable and wasn't going to stop seeking out medical care until I found out what was wrong with me.  I am so thankful for this, and it saved my life.  while I no longer work as a health educator, I still like to stay up-to-date on community health issues and remain knowledgeable about different illnesses/conditions and placed that people can go to for additional information. 

One way I stay up-to-date on things relating to our health is through medical journals and books.  With so many health-based books being released it is hard to choose ones that offer just the right information a savvy consumer/patient advocate for themselves and their family, is looking for.   With family and friends also reaching out to ask me what books to get when they are faced with a medical problem, I want to make sure I point them in the right direction.

DO you find yourself trying to self-diagnose a medical problem?  If so, what websites do you use?  Just like books, there are so many websites out there claiming to offer correct medical information or that will diagnose your symptoms.  But, many people end up finding that the information they find and take for truth isn't really accurate.  I can't tell you how many times I told patients I consulted with not to try to self-diagnose.  Not only will you go crazy trying to find out what is going on -- but, more times than not, you will diagnose wrong and find yourself stressing for the wrong reasons, or not seeking medical treatment when you need it most.

I admit that since welcoming my girls in 2010 and 2011, I have found myself trying to self diagnosis symptoms in the wee hours of the AM, trying to offer them up some relief through OTC medicine.  Not only do I stress out trying to have them tell me what is wrong with their limited vocabulary, but, I, too have misdiagnosed them.  I took allergies for a head cold and was giving cold medicine instead of antihistamines.  

As parents, we want to be able make our kids feel better when they are not feeling well.  But, where do we start?  Yes, you could take to the Internet to match symptoms will illnesses/conditions, but I have found "The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health" to be a great resource that every parent with young children should own.  The American Academy of Pediatrics puts this book out, so you know they are sharing expert guidance with you.

Recently, I was sent "The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health", which was published on July 15th and costs only $16.95.  I read this book cover to cover and was amazed at how it was set up.  All the information was shared in layman's terms, so even those with little medical terminology knowledge could flip through and find potential conditions based on your child's symptoms, and the next steps for treatment or management.  I have read so many "symptoms-type" books over the years for both adults and children, but always find issues with how the information is shared.  Unless you have a public health background, many of these books are too advanced for those seeking answers to medical problems, that making them turn to the Internet for answers.  And, you know what happens then -- misdiagnosing yourself oftentimes.

"The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health" is edited by two esteemed pediatricians, Steven P. Shelov, MD FAAP, and Shelly V. Flais, MD FAAP, and it is set up in a nice A-Z directory style.  With over 100 of the most common childhood symptoms seen in infants through the adolescent years, parents will be able to find out what is the cause of their children not feeling well, and if they should seek immediate medical treatment, or can rely on OTC medicine to handle.  

In addition to offering an A-Z directory format, "The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health" also includes an illustrated first aid manual, a CPR chart, and age-specific safety and injury prevention tips, through a pull out poster.  I love having all this information handy on one pull out, and have it hanging in the kitchen next to the phone, so that I can reference in an emergency.  While I am CPR and First Aid certified and have been for years, there have been a few instances after becoming a parent that I became flustered when dealing with one of my daughter's choking.  While I knew what to do, it just wasn't registering in my head.  Stress and panic can do that to do. Thankfully, I had my First Aid and CPR books close by and was able to reference.  But, I am loving the 3-in-1 First Aid, Choking and CPR Chart that this book includes.

"The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health" is perfect for both parents, grandparents and caregivers of young children, and would make for the perfect baby shower gift for new and expectant parents.  This is one book you will find yourself pulling from the shelf time and again to look up common symptoms and find out what to do next.  From deciphering between a cold and flu, to understanding your child's fever, how to handle a colicky baby (I had two), to treating bee stings, tick bites, etc. -- this medical reference book has it all.  Don't find yourself getting flustered or trying to diagnose your child's symptoms through non-reputable websites.  Instead, pick up a copy of "The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health" and have a great resource at your fingertips, to deal with your child's day-to-day health and safety issues/concerns.

To learn more about the "The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health," including purchasing this and other AAP books, visit the AAP Bookstore today at  In addition, "The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide to Your Child's Health" is also available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and bookstores nationwide, for only $16.95



Steven P. Shelov, MD, FAAP, is a professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook Medicine and associate dean of undergraduate medical education at the Winthrop University Hospital Regional Campus of Stony Brook. He is the author of more than 100 original publications and 15 books, and he has been the founding editor in chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics guide for parents, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, since its first edition in 1991.

Shelly Vaziri Flais, MD, FAAP, is a board-certified practicing pediatrician and mother of 4 children. She is also an instructor of clinical pediatrics with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She has shared her reality-based parenting approach with national and local television, radio, and Web-based and print news outlets, as well as contributed to Parents, Parenting, Twins, and Healthy Children magazines.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  Even though I was compensated for my time in reviewing and sharing about this book, all views I share are mine and mine alone.


  1. What a fantastic resource! It's frustrating to try and guess what to do for minor illnesses (why do they always hit in the middle of the night?!), and this would be so much more useful than Dr Google.

  2. I would love to have this book this is such a great resource and so much better than looking up illnesses online and getting wrong information.