Coughs and sneezes: what digital data reveals about common health conditions

Winter can be a miserable time of year, especially if suffering from coughs or colds. At Patient, we see seasonal trends across the year and winter is no different.

Winter is one of the busiest periods of the year for us in terms of site visits as more people feel 'poorly' and turn to the internet. However, the holidays do draw people's attention away from health in the final two weeks of December. (Having said that, even last Christmas Day 2014 we received over 387,000 unique visitors!)

We thought we would take a look at some trending winter conditions. Do you want to know if coughs have beaten chilblains? Has the common cold come from nowhere to hit the number 1 spot? Well, look no further.

By comparing weekly views at the start of September, with weekly views last week, we can see which information pages have seen the most growth. Here are the top 25 trending conditions for last week:

Information

Growth

Bronchiolitis

354.99%

Seasonal affective disorder

240.33%

Earache

230.13%

Post-traumatic stress disorder

170.03%

Common dislocations

159.47%

Coughs and colds in children

153.32%

Croup

134.23%

Chilblains

128.20%

Chest infection

124.18%

Hand foot and mouth disease

118.37%

Laryngitis

115.29%

The immune system

109.75%

Wheeze

105.27%

Common cold

99.31%

Teething

96.43%

Acute sinusitis

78.33%

Pelvic pain in women

74.99%

Tonsillitis

72.22%

Pneumonia

71.83%

Faint/collapse

65.79%

Medicines for nausea

61.11%

Oral Steroids

58.06%

Pruritus Ani

55.98%

Headache

52.95%

High temperature in children

48.20%

The potential to use this trending information in a wider healthcare context is exciting. Watch this space for more about this in the future…!

Finally, if you do find yourself with a sniffle, you may find our infographic below useful. It can give you a pointer as to whether it's a common cold or the flu. Dr Sarah Jarvis also has some proactive advice on health weapons for winter ailments.