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Health Literacy for Schools: What is health literacy?

Resources, games and videos for introducing health literacy to children and young people

Analysing health website

Analysing health websites

The internet is a great resource but there is so much information on there, it's easy to find advice that isn't reliable and following health information that hasn't been verified can be really dangerous. As children are becoming much more adept and comfortable using and searching for information on the internet, they should learn about weighing up the information they find on health websites and deciding whether it is a good source or not.

This activity from GDHR (Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships, Department of Health, Government of Western Australia) encourages children to discuss what being safe online means, search for health information and looking at the site's credentials. All you need is a computer, a ball of wool, and the two handouts below.

Analysing health related websites activity

Bones in the hand

The brain

The eye

The gastrointestinal system

The heart

The human body

Health Dictionary

Health Dictionary

There are lots of tricky medical words that doctors can use to explain what's going on which can be very confusing. Great Ormond Street Hospital in London has produced a Health Dictionary so if you don't know what a medical or health word means, you can find a jargon-free explanation to hundreds of words!

Read the full Health Dictionary here.

Click through a selection of medical terms below from the Health Dictionary. Do you know what the words mean?

Allergy

Lots of people have allergies. They're something that your body reacts to, and often include foods and materials that you come into contact with. Usually they are harmless, but for some people they can be much more serious and make them very ill.

Biopsy

When a part of your body isn't working quite right, doctors need to be able to see what's going wrong. Sometimes, they decide to do a biopsy, which means they take a really small section from that part of your body. Scientists can then carry out tests on the piece of tissue, in the laboratory.

Cardiology

The study of the heart and how it works. The specialist doctor who looks after your heart is called your cardiologist. 

Dehydration

If you don't have enough water in your body, you can feel very unwell. When you sweat, you lose water and it's easy to get dehydrated when it's hot, so you need to drink plenty of water. You can also lose a lot of water when you’re sick with diarrhoea and vomiting.

Endoscope

This is a thin bendy tube that has a light and a camera on the end, which can be put inside the body so the doctors can see what’s happening.

Fracture

When you break a bone in your body, it’s called a fracture. There are lots of different types of fracture – some are simple fractures where the bone breaks but doesn’t come through your skin, but others are complicated fractures which need to be pinned together to make them heal properly.

Gastroenterology

The study of your digestive system. A doctor who specialises in disorders of the digestive system is called a gastroenterologist.

Haem-

If a word begins with ‘haem’ this usually means that it is something to do with blood. For example, haematology is the study of blood.

Injection

This is when a substance is put into your body using a needle. There are different types of injection – including intravenous (into a vein), intramuscular (into a muscle), intrathecal (into the fluid around your spinal cord) and subcutaneous (under the skin).

Jaundice

This is when your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow. It can be a sign of something serious, such as liver disease.

Larynx

The medical word for voice box – the part of your throat that produces sound.

Migraine

A serious headache, usually with sickness as well. Some people cannot see properly when they have a migraine. A migraine can last from a couple of hours to a couple of days. They can be treated with painkillers and often by lying in a darkened room.

Nausea

Feeling sick, or wanting to puke, isn't very nice. Nausea is the word that doctors sometimes use to say this.

Operation

Sometimes the doctors need to be able to get inside your body to sort out problems that you're experiencing. Most operations are carried out under an anaesthetic, which means you won't be awake or know what is happening.

Paediatrics

The study of children’s development and the diseases that affect children. A doctor who specialises in paediatrics is called a paediatrician.

Quarantine

This is the period where you stay isolated to stop passing on an illness to other people.

Recovery Room

Most people are usually 'asleep' under a general anaesthetic during an operation (surgery). It takes a while for you to wake up afterwards. Usually you'll wake up in the Recovery Room, a special room where the nurses will give you extra special care. When you're feeling a bit more awake, you'll go back to the ward.

Sedation

A way of making you very sleepy, usually before and during a test or procedure.

Tonsils

You have tonsils on either side of your throat at the back of your mouth. They’re part of the immune system. When you’re a child, they can become inflamed which is called tonsillitis.

Ultrasound scan

This scan uses sound waves instead of x-rays to show your insides. It's very like the scan most women have when they're pregnant.

Virus

A type of germ that can cause disease. Viruses cause colds, and more serious diseases like meningitis. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses so there’s no point in taking them for things like a cold.

Windpipe

This is the tube that carries air to your lungs. It starts just below your voicebox in your neck and carries on inside your ribcage until it gets to the bottom of your breastbone. It then divides into two bronchi, each of which carry on into a lung.

X-ray

X-rays allow the doctors to look inside your body, from the outside. The x-ray machine takes a picture, which helps them to see what's going on inside your body. The x-ray beams pass through soft tissue so looks black in the picture, but gets stopped by anything solid, such as bone, which shows white.

App

My Incredible Body - App

This is an educational science app which gives children a peek at the inner working of their body. It takes you through guided tours through 8 systems in the human body using medically accurate 3-D models coupled with brief, kid-friendly audio clips. 

Children's guides to hospital

The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne have produced a large number of videos that introduce children to areas, procedures and tests that they might experience in a hospital. They have also produced videos around COVID-19 and explain in child friendly terms why everyone is wearing a mask.

Access the full list of videos here.

Human Skeleton Game

Skeletons and Bones Game

Learn about the human anatomy with this interactive game from Science Kids.

The Science Kids website contains lots of games, quizzes, puzzles, facts and project ideas to teach children about all aspects of health. As well as activities for children, there are also lesson plans and worksheets for teachers, ideas for parents and a whole host of free resources for anyone interested in learning about the human body or other science subjects online.

Ask for Evidence

Ask for Evidence

This handy Evidence Hunter activity pack brought to you by Sense about Science which empowers young people to ask, ‘What is the evidence behind this claim?’ It aims to help them develop the skills and confidence needed to critically assess claims they come across online and reduce the spread of false information.