Despite new year's resolutions to become healthier individuals, many of us will succumb to either colds or the dreaded flu in the coming weeks. In most cases there is nothing to be done except dose up on Lemsip and sweat it out. But if you are worried that your sore throat is the symptom of something more sinister, or if you do have a serious complaint, it is worth summoning the energy to turn your computer on and log onto www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.
Launched at the beginning of December, the Government's official health site provides a range of services, including information on healthy living, health issues in the news, and frequently asked questions. But most importantly it features a diagnostic section.
Click on to Healthcare Guide and you will be asked a series of questions about your symptoms, prompting the site to advise you whether you should call 999 or simply take a paracetamol. If, for example, you have a red rash and stiff neck you could have meningitis and would be advised to call 999 immediately.
There are hundreds of health sites on the World-Wide Web, but this is the first official site and the Government is expecting it to become one of the most popular, with an anticipated 25 million hits a year. If you're suffering it may be worth a visit and it will hopefully save you a trip to the doctor.