Republic No 1 in Europe for ailment complaints

IRELAND tops the European rankings for complaints of ailments, new research reveals.

The report of 20 countries by AC Nielsen shows Ireland has the highest aggregate incidence of minor illnesses, such as headache, stomach upset and colds.

The most common ailment among Irish people is a headache, according to 45% of respondents.

The other most common complaints reported by the Irish are sleeping problems (33%), colds (33%) and stomach upset (31%).

Across Europe headache, backache and colds are the most common ailments.

Russia reported the greatest incidence of headaches with 50% saying it was their most common complaint.

Backache is the most common ailment in Austria, while Belgians complain most about colds. Almost 40% of Russians, it emerged, also suffer a lot from colds.

Those suffering most from irregular sleeping patterns are British (35%), Swedish (34%) and Irish (33%).

Pharmacists in Ireland are now hoping that a new public education campaign will help people feel better faster.

Launched yesterday by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and Irish Pharmaceutical Union (IPU), the campaign also focuses on when a trip to a GP is necessary.

IPHA president John McLoughlin said changing lifestyles and the hectic pace of life in Ireland might be to blame for the frequency of many minor ailments.

Michael Guckian, president of IPU, said there were many medicines available without prescription that were extremely effective in treating minor ailments.

The aim of the new campaign, he said, was to help people self-treat minor ailments effectively, use non-prescription medicines correctly and to know when to seek advice from their pharmacist or GP.

Mr McLoughlin said thousands of GP visits were made for ailments that could be treated with non-prescription medicine recommended by a pharmacist.

“With so many people leading time-poor lifestyles, being able to self-treat minor ailments effectively and safely can have significant time-saving benefits,” he said.

Both the IPHA and IPU are also stressing the importance of reading medicine labels carefully and of checking with a pharmacist if people have questions.

“This might sound like obvious advice but research consistently shows that levels of compliance in relation to medication are as low as 50%,” said Mr McLoughlin.

The month-long campaign includes radio broadcasts and a website (www.feelbetter.ie). Information packs and fridge magnets are available in pharmacies.

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