Your guide to online health from NHS Choices

Posted on: 25 March 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring

With cyberchondria sweeping the nation, NHS Choices highlight the right way to use the internet for your health

The internet has become an invaluable tool that we all rely on. It therefore seems hardly surprising that almost 90% of people went online in the past year seeking health information. But, do you know how to make the most of the internet when it comes to your health?

Find a health practitioner in your area

Simply go to www.nhs.uk and choose ‘find and choose services’ from the five options on the home page. This section of the website lets you search for a wide range of health practitioners in your local area from GPs and optometrists to pharmacists and dentists. You can check their opening times, what services they offer and even see patient feedback. You will also be able to search for support clinics for a range of conditions from dementia to weight loss.

Researching health conditions online

NHS Choices has a wealth of information on a wide range of health issues. If you have been recently diagnosed and would like to research your condition further, or if you want to check your symptoms, then visit the NHS Choices Health A - Z section.

Info standardFinding reliable health information online

With so much information available online it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between what is and isn’t reliable. If you’re ever unsure, look for The Information Standard quality mark on websites and leaflets. The Information Standard is a certification scheme for health and social care information and is supported by the Department of Health. The quality mark can usually be found at the bottom of certified member home pages. If you see the mark then you can feel confident that the information from that provider is trustworthy and reliably sourced.

Interactive tools to help you live a healthier life

We all need a bit of help when it comes to things like quitting smoking, taking up a new exercise regime or embarking on a diet. That’s why NHS Choices has developed a range of helpful online tools and trackers to support you while you change your lifestyle. Here are links to three popular tools:

BMI checker

This tool allows you to check if you’re a healthy weight as well as directing you to helpful information and advice.

Stop smoking

 This app will help you track your progress

Food swapper

If you’re trying to diet, this tool will help you to swap your current weekly shop for healthier alternatives.

For the full range of tools available on NHS Choices visit: http://www.nhs.uk/tools

Help a friend get online during Spring Online week 16- 20 May 2011

NHS Choices is a proud supporter of Digital Unite’s Spring Online week. During the week, venues up and down the country will open their doors to those who need support getting online. These events are for people that either don’t have a computer or don’t know how to use one. The activities will seek to show them how to get online and start benefitting from the vast array of information, services and entertainment on the internet. If you know someone like this, why not take them along to an event?

To find your nearest event visit; www.springonline.org or call 0800 771 234. In the meantime, why not show someone else how they could be making the most of the internet when it comes to their health.

We'll be working with NHS choices throughout this year to bring you the latest health news and views from our fantastic National Health Service. To get involved head to our forum where you can ask questions or discuss health issues...

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