Americans have been feeling a little bit under the weather apparently recently.
According to a recent study from Gallup, found that at any given moment about 4% of Americans reported having the flu in December 2014. That means last month was one of the most flu-infested months on record! Plus, flu season only now is just getting started—it’s likely this season will be one of the worst to date.
The study was a conducted using random phone interviews where they asked if the respondent was sick with the flu the previous day. They also asked them if they had been sick with a cold “yesterday.” A shocking 11.6% said they felt ill from a cold the day before the phone questionnaire. Generally speaking, having a cold is much more common than having influenza. However, the number could potentially be higher considering a flu-stricken person is far less likely to answer the phone and participate in a survey. Plus, the participants may have not been able to properly diagnose themselves.
The CDC reported that almost 6% of doctor visits were the result of flu or flu-like symptoms in the last week of December. This number is 2% higher than the results of the same survey in the same week in 2013.
The Gallup survey was conducted from December 1st until 30th, 2014. There were 13,165 participants who were adults (18 and older) living in all 50 U.S. states. As they always do for their surveys, half the random dialed numbers were cellular phones while the other half were landlines.
Who is most likely to have a cold or the flu?
- Hispanic Americans were the most likely to report flu-like symptoms the day before. Asian, black, and white participants were less likely to report it.
- People in the “west” reported the highest overall flu and cold symptoms.
- Income had a major correlation–the higher the income, the lower the likelihood of being sick…and vice versa.
- People with young children living in their home were more likely to have cold or flu symptoms.
- Middle-aged adults had the highest percent of flu reports.
- Young adults had the highest percent of cold reports.
The results of this recent phone survey are predicting that the next few months may be one of the worst flu-seasons yet.
Easy Flu/Cold Prevention
As we see more and more sick patients in our facilities, it’s never been a better time to teach some of the most basic healthy-living tips to avoid catching any bugs this winter.
- Promote vaccinations. Although it is best to get the shot is in the early fall, winter can still be a good time to think about getting it. There’s either the traditional shot, the nasal spray, and even egg-less vaccinations (for those with allergies.)
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you.
- Avoid touching your face unless you first wash your hands.
- Keep yourself well rested.
- Make sure you’re sleeping well.
Even with precautions, Americans will always catch the flu. So when the inevitable happens, recommend antiviral flu drugs for your patients like Tamiflu and Relenza. And as we continue into the season of sneezing, it’s important to be more aware than ever.