Planning a ‘merry’ Christmas? Then keep those antacids handy

Stomach ache, food poisoning, vomiting and heartburn are the conditions most frequently viewed on the NHS website over the festive season

Festive feast: but the NHS online advice pages suggest that it’s not always well-digested…

Heartburn is top of the list for advice on health conditions on the NHS website at Christmas.

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 pages with the greatest site traffic 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 27million 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.

“The NHS website is available every day of the year for anyone who needs it, including during the festive season,” Robert Cleary, NHS Digital’s content director for the NHS website, said.

The NHS website has more than 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 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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