Recent research by a monthly magazine Riza Psicosomatica has found that 42 per cent of Italians carry patent medicines with them just in case they feel ill or have pain. They most fear suffering from sudden toothache, a headache, a bad back or an unexpected allergy attack, and 32 per cent of those questioned take an analgesic or anti-allergy remedy at the very first symptom. Remedies for pain relief are not the only medicines carried. Products that can help overcome difficult situations, such as calming medicines or pills to help stay awake and alert, are frequently used. The researchers found that many Italians regard their bodies as a machine which they expect to be in good working order all the time; the smallest problem is treated, usually by taking an over the counter medicine as quickly as possible, to such an extent that in many cases the taking of these remedies has become a habit.
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