HEALTH SEEKING BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS MINOR AILMENTS AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA
Objectives: This study was conducted to identify the types of minor ailment encountered by university students in Malaysia and the action taken in response to these ailments.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on undergraduate students from the various faculties in a major private and a public university in Malaysia. A researcher stationed at different areas of the universities to recruit respondents. If the student agreed to participate, he/she would sign a consent form and then self-filled a structured questionnaire.
Results: Of the 856 respondents included in this study, 68.6% were female and 60.6% rated their health status as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. During the one-month period prior to the study, 748 respondents (87.4%) encountered at least one minor ailment. The five most common minor ailments encountered were headache (58.1%), common cold (42.8%), sore throat (42.6%), cough (40.3%) and back pain (27.6%). The main actions taken were rest at home and self-medication. The most common drug used for the treatment of minor ailments was paracetamol (49% of respondents). Other drugs were used by less than 10% of the respondents. The main source of information was from parents (63.7%), followed by doctors (59.9%), internet (57.9%), pharmacists (33.9%) and friends (33.5%).
Conclusion: Headache is more common among university students compared to the general population. Further studies are required to understand the cause of headache among this population.
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