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South Nassau Communities Hospital Poll Shows One Third of Those with Flu Still Report to Work

Men 50 years of age and older were more likely to report to work with the flu, the survey found, with 37 percent of men reporting that they had gone in to work despite having a flu diagnosis.

Oceanside, NY, January 08, 2017 --( A third of workers who have the flu still report to work even though they are aware that the sometimes deadly disease is spread person to person, according to the results of a new public health survey of New York metro area residents.

Men 50 years of age and older were more likely to report to work with the flu, the survey found, with 37 percent of men reporting that they had gone in to work despite having a flu diagnosis. By contrast, 28 percent of women 50 years of age or older reported that they went to work with the flu.

The overwhelming majority of those responding in the poll – some 93 percent – said they are aware that the flu is spread person to person. And 66 percent said they knew that the flu can be fatal. Yet, only 57 percent of those surveyed said they had gotten the flu shot. Some 33 percent of all respondents reported that they had gone to work with flu at least once.

The newly commissioned South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll was conducted via both landlines and cell phones in December with 600 adults in New York City and on Long Island. The poll was conducted as part of the hospital's mission of improving education around critical public health issues.

"Our ultimate goal is educate the public about health issues so they can take better care of themselves and seek out appropriate medical care when needed," said Dr. Adhi Sharma, South Nassau's Chief Medical Officer. "The flu is an example of a disease that annually causes tens of thousands of hospital and Emergency Department visits that often could be avoided if people took some simple preventative steps like getting the flu shot, washing their hands frequently and staying at home if they have the flu," Sharma said.

Those with the flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and between five and seven days after becoming sick, said Dr. Aaron Glatt, South Nassau's Department of Medicine Chair and Hospital Epidemiologist who also is a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America. Some people, especially young children and those with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time, Dr. Glatt added.

The South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll was conducted by a nationally recognized, independent polling firm, LJR Custom Strategies, which has offices in Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA.

Most of those responding to the Truth in Medicine survey – some 66 percent – agreed that people should get a flu shot every year while 16 percent said they didn't think a flu shot was necessary. Only 57 percent of those responding, however, said they themselves had received a flu shot.

Among older residents age 50-64, some 76 percent believed an annual flu shot was a good idea, and among residents age 65 and over, 73 percent said the same, indicating that the message of inoculating against the flu among older residents is resonating, the survey found.

The poll indicated that concern remains about the risks of the flu shot. Forty-two percent said they believed you can get the flu from the flu shot while an equal number of respondents – 42 percent - did not believe you could get the flu from the shot. Some 58 percent of residents surveyed, meanwhile, are aware it is possible to get the flu more than once a year.

"While you can get the flu, even if you receive the flu vaccine, it is still a very good idea to get the flu shot," said Dr. Glatt. "The flu shot –while not effective in all cases - is the best preventative measure we have." It is not too late in the season to get the flu shot, said Dr. Glatt.
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South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker

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