Oceanside, NY, February 14, 2018 --(PR.com
)-- Almost half of metro area New Yorkers surveyed in a new poll report taking unregulated dietary supplements such as vitamins, essential oils and probiotics- some in attempt to ward off colds and the flu - but 39 percent of those who take supplements for that purpose have not had a flu shot, according to South Nassau's latest Truth in Medicine Poll.
The flu shot is considered the single best preventive method against the flu, a sometimes-deadly disease. "Benefit from cold supplements have never been truly proven to help boost your immunity against colds, whereas flu vaccine is proven to prevent the flu," said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, South Nassau's Department of Medicine Chair and Hospital Epidemiologist, who also is a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America.
Other key findings from the poll include:
· Some 44 percent of respondents who take supplements reported spending more than $25 per month on these supplements
· More than 70 percent of those who take supplements to fight cold and flu act on their own – often on the recommendation from a friend or family member, rather than a doctor.
· Nearly a third do not inform their doctors about their supplement use.
· Some 15 percent said that advertising prompted them to take a supplement to ward off colds and flu.
The South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, is a quarterly survey of 600 Long Island and New York City residents that aims to gather data about public attitudes on key public health topics and help spur public education to improve public health.
A majority (54 percent) of those who take an anti-cold or flu supplement do so daily, while 25 percent take it only when needed. Those who take something to prevent colds and flu are fairly confident that it works, with 39 percent saying the supplements are very effective and 53 percent saying they are somewhat effective.
Vitamin C is overwhelmingly the most popular supplement choice, with 85 percent of respondents who take supplements to defend against cold and flu saying they take it. Vitamin C includes popular drugstore brands like Emergen-C® and Airborne®. Zinc, including the popular Zicam®, follows Vitamin C at 26 percent as the second most popular supplement.
"While a supplement like Vitamin C is safe to take if you are traveling or are in close contact with friends or family who have colds or flu, other supplements, especially herbal supplements, should always be cleared by your primary care doctor or other physician," said Dr. Adhi Sharma, South Nassau's chief medical officer.