SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of South Korean women suffering from cystitis increases significantly during the Lunar New Year holiday due to stress and a weak immune system, a new study has found.
According to data from the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service (HIRA), an estimated 5,268 people were diagnosed with cystitis around the Lunar New Year Holiday, among which 4,787 were women.
The number soared by 20 percent among women in their 30s and 40s, many of whom are homemakers, during one of the biggest traditional holidays in South Korea.
Women in their 30s and 40s accounted for 13.2 percent and 19.5 percent of all cystitis patients in general last year, but the figures jumped to 15.8 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively, during the holiday.
Researchers at the HIRA believe that the sometimes overwhelming psychological and physical stress imposed on women during the holiday period could weaken their immune system, including traveling a long distance in the same position to visit family.
Nearly 640,000 patients visited hospitals during last year’s four-day Lunar New Year holiday, one fifth of the average figure on a weekday, with around 345,400 patients visiting the day before Lunar New Year, according to the data.
Around 1 in 3 patients were children, who also accounted for over 43 percent of all enteritis patients, the most common type of illness during the traditional holiday.
Over 40,000 individuals went to see the doctor for enteritis last year.
As seemingly endless dishes of food are cooked and kept at room temperature before being reheated, the risk of enteritis increases, and experts urge people to wash their hands frequently and pay extra attention to make sure the food doesn’t go bad.
Other types of common illness and injuries included wounds and skin irritation as well as burns, particularly among children.
With all the cooking and family gatherings, children left unattended sometimes get burned by spilling hot water, for instance, the study explained.