By Claire West
The number of people looking up flu information on the NHS website increased tenfold compared to last year, new figures reveal.
Figures from NHS Choices show the site www.nhs.uk was clicked onto than 20 million times during winter, and that there were 50,000 searches for flu information compared to just 3,800 in 2009.
The figures also reveal that apart from flu, pneumonia, diabetes and pregnancy were among the most popular pages on the site. The busiest single day for the site was 13 December when there were 300,000 visits.
Research published this week from the London School of Economics found the number of people looking for health information online is set to soar again as workers return from holiday breaks.
Health Minister Simon Burns said:
“NHS Choices has been able to provide timely and accurate information about flu and other conditions during winter months.
"The internet is a great resource for health-related information as long as people can use sources they can trust. Those people who log onto NHS Choices are often in a better position to use health services appropriately.”
To try to reduce the spread of flu, the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign was launched on Saturday in the form of national press and radio adverts. The campaign reminds people to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene.
The Government is committed to producing more health information online, and NHS Choices Website recently topped a Which? investigation of medical websites, saying the website ‘excelled for it’s breadth of information’ and that the site contained ‘medically robust information’. Separately Imperial College found the site potentially saves the NHS £44 million a year.