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Over six million Australians endure allergies, colds and flu without using medication

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, October 2018 – September 2019, n = 49,462 Base: Australians 14+

The latest health and wellbeing data from Roy Morgan shows that while increasing numbers of Australians are turning to medication for allergies or colds and flu, over six million Australians endure these conditions without such assistance.

In total, 67.6% of Australians aged 14+ experience allergies/cold and flu in an average twelve months. That’s more than 14 million people: 64.1% of all men and 70.9% of women. The 14-17 age group has the highest proportion of sufferers (75.3%), followed by 35-49 (72.8%), 18-34 (72.5%) before a gap to older Australians aged 50-64 (65.1%) and 65+ (53.9%).

The findings are drawn from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s leading source of consumer insights, compiled from in-depth face-to-face interviews with over 1,000 Australians each week in their homes.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the reality that greater proportions of younger people than older Australians experience allergies or cold and flu may come as a surprise.

“The data suggests a clear decrease in the proportion of Australians affected by allergies/cold and flu as age increases. In terms of the differences between the sexes, a greater proportion of women are affected than men, and when it comes to geographical differences, the ACT has the highest proportion of affected individuals, with over three-quarters of residents experiencing either allergies or colds and flu in an average twelve months.”

The data also shows that a greater proportion of Australians are now taking medication to alleviate these conditions compared to seven years ago. In 2012, 47.4% of sufferers took medication; this has increased to 57.0%.

“Seven years ago, just over half those experiencing allergies/cold and flu chose not to take medication. Today, the majority of sufferers do so. But even with the increase, there are still more than 6 million Australians who don’t take medication to deal with these conditions,” Ms. Levine says.

Proportion of Australians who experience allergies/cold and flu in an average twelve months

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, October 2018 – September 2019, n = 49,462 Base: Australians 14+.

Medication usage in response to allergies/cold and flu

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, October 2011 – September 2012, n = 14,022.  October 2018 – September 2019, n = 8,495 Base: Australians 14+ who have had allergies/cold and flu in the past twelve months.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%