Novel figures from the NHS Choices and NHS Direct reveal that more individuals are using the internet for trusted advice and health information this winter.
Compared to last year, daily visitors to the NHS Choices website increased by 56% between October to the end of December, even though flu levels are lower so far this year. This increase is equal to 133,000 more visits per day this year (368,000), in comparison to 235,000 visits per day during the same period in 2010.
Worries regarding Norovirus increased traffic to the site by 162% over the Christmas period, in comparison to the same period in 2010. Between the 19th to the 27th of December, 2011, visits increased by 117% compared to the week before.
There were 116,085 visits to the Norovirus page between October to the end of December, 2011 compared to the same period in 2010 (70,347 visits).
Visits to pages with flu and cold information decreased, with more individuals seeking flu jab information. Visits to the "about the vaccine" page rose by 73% while visits to the "who should have it" increased by 91%.
On average, just under 11 million individuals visit the NHS Choices site
, over the winter period, compared to 6.8 million visits during the same period in 2010. Yearly, visits to the site have increased by 35%.
There are currently approximately 26,000 patients who use NHS Direct online, compared to about 12,000 who carry out their inquiries by telephone. In December, the most frequent searches on NHS Direct's health and symptom checkers were abdominal pain
, colds and flu, skin problems, rashes, female sexual health, vomiting and diarrhea.
Furthermore, more individuals are looking for health advice via mobile phone applications. Over the past year the number of times NHS Choices' Alcohol Tracker and Quit Smoking mobile phone...