Misperceptions Hinder Flu Prevention and Treatment Efforts
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) recently conducted a national Flu Behaviors and Treatment survey to understand public attitudes, experiences, and knowledge about flu prevention and treatment. The survey found that while most US adults understand that flu is serious (93%) and highly contagious (87%) and know the importance of annual flu vaccination (66%), only one-fourth (27%) would call a doctor for advice when someone in the household has the flu. State specific results are also available for 10 states.
“It is reassuring that individuals recognize the importance of receiving an annual vaccination, but that’s not enough,” said Dr. Susan J. Rehm, NFID medical director. “To help keep influenza out of homes, schools, and workplaces, everyone six months and older needs to get vaccinated annually and know to contact a doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms.”
Other findings from the survey included:
- Many (41%) don’t realize that flu is contagious before symptoms start.
- About half incorrectly believe antibiotics (44%) or flu vaccines (48%) treat the flu.
- When flu strikes, 59% do not realize that there are prescription medicines available to treat the flu.
To combat flu this season, NFID endorses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Take 3” Actions to Fight the Flu:
- Get an annual vaccine.
- Take everyday preventative actions, like covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough and washing your hands, to stop the spread of viruses.
- Take antiviral medicines if your doctor prescribes them.
So, remember, it’s important for both you and your loved ones to get vaccinated annually. And, if you do get sick, contact your doctor promptly and take antiviral medication as prescribed. For more information and to view the full survey results, visit www.nfid.org.