NHS Choices weekly website report – week 14

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Allergy season

This week’s NHS Choices website weekly report covers the period from April 3-9 2017, which saw 10.7 million visits to the site. This was a 10.04% decrease on the previous week, and a 6.94% decrease compared with the same period last year. Unique visitors totalled 7.8 million.

NHS Choices visits 2016 vs 2017

Top 10 site area visits (% of total visits)

Visits to Treatments and Conditions saw the biggest increase this week, going up by 1.07%.

Within Treatments and Conditions, there are a number of guides providing in-depth information on topics such as ‘pregnancy and baby’; ‘contraception’; ‘vaccinations’; ‘stress, anxiety and depression’; and a guide for ‘care and support’. .Guides accounted for 9.44% of all site visits in week 14.

Restless legs syndrome: The channel 5 documentary ‘Restless Legs Syndrome: Desperate for Help’ impacted visits to restless legs syndrome pages. Visits to the “Restless legs syndrome introduction” page saw an 88% increase to reach 39,288, with visits being highest on April 4 – the day the documentary was aired. Visits during the 10pm-11pm viewing window on the Tuesday accounted for 54% of all visits to the page on the day. Visits to the “symptoms”, “causes” and “treatment” pages saw increases too, with the “treatment” page seeing a 79% increase in visits to total 15,488.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke: The unusually warm weather over the weekend sent a flurry of visits to warm weather-related conditions. The “Heat exhaustion and heatstroke” page saw a 194% rise in visits to reach 19,083, while the “Prickly heat” page saw a 50% increase to total 16,444. Visits to the “Sunburn” page rose by 210% to 11,274, while the “Sun safety for children” page saw visits increase by 171% to reach 3,069.


Hay fever: With the tree pollen season underway it’s perhaps unsurprising that visits to hay fever pages saw increases. Visits to the “Hay fever introduction” page saw a 49% increase to total 17,257, while the “symptoms” page saw a 93% increase to reach 14,650. Visits to the common health question (CHQ) “Can I take hay fever medicine during pregnancy?” were popular too, rising 66% to total 4,061, while visits to the “Antihistamines” page rose by 25% to 12,598.

Top 10 search engine referral phrases: “NHS bmi” and “NHS direct” entered the top 10 this week after ranking 18th and 16th respectively last week.

Lyme disease: Visits to the “Lyme disease” page rose by 31% to total 21,155 after Kelly Osbourne confirmed she battled with the condition for almost a decade before it was diagnosed. Visits were highest on April 6 – the day most online stories were reported. Visits on April 6 accounted for 24% of the weekly total.

Vascular dementia: The recent storyline in ITV soap Emmerdale, which saw the character Ashley Thomas die after suffering with early onset vascular dementia, caused increased interest in the condition. Visits to the “Vascular dementia introduction” page went up by 15% to 8,403. Spikes in visits were seen on April 7 when the episode was aired and also during the 11am to 11.59am viewing window, when the actor, John Middleton, who played Ashley, appeared on ITV’s This Morning to discuss the upcoming episode. Visits to the “symptoms” page rose by 7% to total 2,189.

Neuroblastoma: Visits to the “Neuroblastoma” page saw a further increase this week, as five-year-old Bradley Lowery, who has the condition, was awarded an honorary place in the Grand National. Visits to the page saw a 125% increase to total 17,857. A link to the “Neuroblastoma” page from an article on the BBC website about Bradley’s latest round of treatment failing accounted for 34% of the weekly traffic.

Top 10 videos: Video views, including those on the NHS Choices YouTube channel, were 148,578, a 10.79% decrease compared with the previous week. The “Pilates” video was top, with 4,146 views.

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