Media releases

December 11, 2013

Gen Y more prone to health issues over the festive period

- 1 in 10 Australians feels they gain significant weight
- Men are twice as likely to get alcohol poisoning than women
- Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line Nurses reveal top tips on how to stay healthy this Christmas

New research from the Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line highlights leading health concerns for Australians during the festive months - significant weight gain and symptoms of food poisoning are the top of the list, with Gen Y considerably more prone to problems than the older generation.

Four out of five of Baby Boomers make it through to January without any health trouble at all, compared to only half (56%) of Gen Y. According to the research, problems encountered more frequently by Gen Y include broken bones, alcohol poisoning and sickness. Interestingly, men consider themselves twice as likely to get alcohol poisoning than women.

The research uncovered some significant differences between states. People in Victoria and Tasmania are most likely to gain significant weight and people in Queensland are most likely to get food poising. Residents of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania are also more likely to get alcohol poisoning than the rest of the country.

According to National Medical Director Dr Kate McConnon from Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line, "Common problems at this time of the year can include sunstroke and sunburn as well as injuries from new presents, stings and bites and stress. Mental health can also be a significantly concern for some people, both for those trying to juggle busy family arrangements and relationships, to the other end of the scale of those feeling dislocated or lonely."

People experiencing significant health issues at this time of year should get advice from a medical professional. Medibank customers with hospital cover can call qualified nurses on the Health Advice Line at any time of the day or night.

The Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line gives five top tips on how to stay healthy this Christmas:

  1. Gastro problems - Be vigilant about food preparation to avoid gastro issues. Always remember to cook things thoroughly and be careful not to leave things out in the heat of the sun. If symptoms become severe, don't hesitate to seek professional advice. It is also not uncommon to eat too much at Christmas and it can often cause discomfort and indigestion. Try to avoid overeating and mixing too many rich foods.
  2. Christmas present accidents - There is an increase in kids' and big kids' play related injuries at this time of year. Remember to take care and wear safety gear such as bike helmets where appropriate.
  3. Stress - Organising Christmas with lots of people, extended family and increased drinking can often lead to undue pressure and tensions - try and relax where possible and enjoy the day. Many other people may also be alone this Christmas and call for emotional support, so if you know of anyone who's lonely, maybe pay a visit and say hello.
  4. Sunburn and sunstroke - Always wear high SPF sunscreen and cover up in the midday sun. Even if it is cloudy, strong UV can still get through and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Sunburn or sunstroke cannot only ruin a holiday, but can cause long-term health risks.
  5. Stings, bites and allergies - With an increase in outside activities such as playing in the garden or swimming in the sea, there's a greater risk of stings and bites during the holidays. Keep antiseptic cream handy and seek immediate medical advice for any serious instances. Remain aware of any allergies and be sure to take medication on Christmas trips.

Research conducted by Galaxy Research for the Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line on 19-24 April 2013 on a sample of 1,061 Australians across the country.

About the Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line 
Members with Medibank hospital cover can call a Medibank Registered Nurse with health questions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medibank Registered Nurses complement the care given by GPs and other health professionals so consumers can trust they'll deliver sound advice, and can answer most questions.
If Medibank nurses think a GP should be seen, they can use their clinical knowledge to call the preferred GP clinic and explain the condition to assist getting you an appointment.

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