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NHS launches online symptom checker

NHS Direct has launched an online "symptom checker" for people suffering from colds and flu after the number of calls it received about such aliments doubled in the last three months.

The move follows concerns that more and more people are set to be struck down with colds, flu, coughs and fever in the coming months.

People who are feeling unwell can answer a series of questions to find out whether they are in need of urgent attention or if they can treat themselves.

Anne Joshua, NHS Direct's Associate Director of Pharmacy, said: "The website advice will set out the options for self-care – whether a visit to a pharmacy to speak to a pharmacist is needed, or whether it is best to contact a GP. And if necessary it might prompt you to go to A&E.

"Users invited to click for call-back know that they will speak to someone that has all the key information about their decision based on their responses to the tool, and they won't have to explain it all again to an agent at the contact centre before being put through to someone that can help."

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