Politics IS bad for your health: ‘Election fever’ could land you in hospital as health care demand rises 19 percent during polls, experts say

Election fever is gripping the country – and some people may even end up in hospital, a study suggests.

Researchers found that demand for health care services increased by as much as 19 percent among early voters during major election campaigns.

There was a marked increase in chest pain, acute respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disorders and even physical injuries.

The researchers believed that the illnesses were mainly due to the stress of choosing who to vote for, and the fear of being surrounded by political advertisements during the election campaign.

They said the condition should be known as “election syndrome” or “election stress disorder.”

Stress and anxiety caused by elections could land people in hospital, researchers claim

Rishi Sunak risked catching a fever of a different kind by announcing the July 4 election in the pouring rain

Rishi Sunak risked catching a fever of a different kind by announcing the July 4 election in the pouring rain

Being relentlessly bombarded by political spin can lead to fatigue and weakened immunity, the researchers say, making voters more susceptible to infections like Covid.

Voters were at greater risk of contracting infectious diseases due to queuing at polling booths, and some may have suffered injuries while attending crowded political rallies or protests.

Election workers were also found to die young because they worked long hours and had to deal with the stress of “disorderly or confrontational voters.”

The 2023 study, published in the journal Health Economics, looked at the health records of 900,000 people during four election periods in Taiwan.

During the 2012 presidential election, there was a 30 percent increase in the number of anxiety attacks and related disorders treated in hospitals.

Health care expenditures for acute respiratory infections increased by 16.4 percent.

And people who chose a ‘losing’ side were found to have elevated cortisol levels – a hormone released by the body in response to stress – and depressed testosterone levels, which causes low mood, anxiety and depression.

“Our results suggest that campaigns during national elections increased health care use and spending by 17 to 19 percent,” the researchers wrote.

‘Increased healthcare use only occurred during the campaign period and did not persist after the elections.’

They identified two main “routes” through which election illnesses emerge: psychological stress that leads to mental health problems, and participation in campaign activities that affect physical health.

Regarding polling station staff, they explained the high morbidity and mortality rate: “The organization and management of elections can be a challenge for election workers who often have to deal with long hours and disorderly or confrontational voters.”

They proposed that political parties and candidates should pay a tax from their private campaign funds to pay for the additional health care needed during elections.