Americans unlikely to seek treatment for the flu, survey finds

Even though concern over influenza is higher this season than the 2011-12 season, a survey of U.S. adults found not many are willing to take action to prevent contracting the virus, and just 32 percent would contact a healthcare professional if they got the flu.

The annual Flu Preparedness survey, conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, also found 43 percent of Americans did not know there are prescriptions available to help treat the flu. Also, 41 percent of people get the flu shot only after the flu is present in their area.

"It is encouraging that individuals are paying more attention to flu this year. However, people need to know that seasonal flu is a serious public health threat every year," said Susan J. Rehm, MD, medical director of the NFID. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year from flu-related complications, she said.

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