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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UK's National Health Service's New Food Allergy Symptom Checker

Over the last year, the UK has been to me what President Bush is to late-night comics: a continuing source of fodder for jokes and head-slapping. At any given time, it seems that half the population thinks it wrongly suffers from food allergies, is guzzling goat milk to prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance, is getting bad advice from doctors, or is censoring those who are reporting on the quackery.

Now the government is finally stepping in, trying to put an end to some of this nonsense. I'll take the hit in material if it will do some good.

NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk), the online 'front door' to the NHS, launches a new interactive tool aimed to help people better understand the difference between food allergies and intolerances.

Based on NHS accredited information, the food allergy symptom checker (www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/FoodTool.aspx) enables users to find out in seconds whether they have either a food allergy or intolerance, and provides them with clinically approved guidance to help them improve their health. This interactive tool is the latest addition to the NHS Choices' extensive tool library.

"This interactive tool has been created with users in mind and is a valuable addition to the health resources being made available to the public by the NHS Choices," said a spokesman. "It puts patients in the driving seat by giving them exactly the sort of reliable and dependable information they need to take control of their health at the click of a mouse."

NHS Choices is the online information service of the NHS that gives ordinary people the tools to make better, more informed choices about their treatments, health and wellbeing. It includes more than 80,000 pages of content, including video, interactive tools, a daily news service and lifestyle features. Users can also check and compare hospital and doctor's profiles and performance on-line.

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