NHS website’s heartburn advice viewed once every 13 seconds at Christmas

Heartburn is top of the list for advice on health conditions on the NHS website at Christmas, according to new figures.

Analysis by NHS Digital covering the previous two years found that, apart from information about Covid, the heartburn and acid reflux page was the most commonly viewed health condition during the festive period.

There are an estimated 13,200 visits to the website page during Christmas Day and Boxing Day – equivalent to one view every 13 seconds.

Other popular pages on the NHS website over the festive season include health advice on diarrhoea and vomiting which receives an average of 11,600 visits, and stomach ache which gets an estimated 11,000 visits. There are also an average of 9,300 visits to the page on food poisoning across the 48 hours.

The NHS website, which is managed by NHS Digital, is the UK’s biggest health website with an estimated 27 million visits each week. The site also includes advice on how to stay well in winter which covers getting vaccinations, keeping warm and looking in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives.

Robert Cleary, NHS Digital’s content director for the NHS website, said:

“The NHS website is available every day of the year for anyone who needs it, including during the festive season.

“The site provides information and advice on a wide range of conditions, from heartburn to mental health, in easy-to-understand language.

“Our section on staying well in winter also includes useful tips on how to keep healthy during the colder months.”

The NHS website has over 4,000 pages and provides information about 990 medical conditions as well as other health services, including applying for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card for healthcare cover abroad, finding a GP, and a BMI healthy weight calculator.

The page on heartburn and acid reflux includes advice on symptoms and causes, how to ease the condition, and when you should seek medical advice.

The main symptoms are a burning sensation in the middle of your chest and an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth. Symptoms are often worse after eating, when lying down and when bending over.

The NHS website advises that raising the head end of your bed by 10 to 20cm, so your chest and head are above the level of your waist, can stop stomach acid travelling up towards your throat.

You should speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn, and they may recommend medicines called antacids or alginates that can help ease your symptoms.

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