Slightly more people plan to get a flu shot this year

As pumpkin-flavored foods, drinks and candles make their seasonal return, so too, does flu season.

A new survey from CVS Health found 61 percent of Americans get a flu vaccine every year or plan to get vaccinated this year, 2 percent more than last year’s survey findings. That number is even higher among seniors—76 percent.

In addition to the vaccine, more people also reported incorporating or adopting other lifestyle measures to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy compared to last year’s survey:

  • 41 percent regularly use hand sanitizer, up 3 percent;
  • 55 percent are drinking more water, up 4 percent;
  • 50 percent are taking vitamins, up 4 percent;
  • 44 percent are eating more nutritious food, up 2 percent;
  • 43 percent are staying physically active, up 4 percent.

Among those who plan to be vaccinated, two-thirds (67 percent) report doing so because they say it’s the best way to protect themselves from catching the flu.

However, 65 percent of those employed would still go to work even if they were experiencing flu-like symptoms, highlighting the need for staff education, especially among healthcare workers.

Harris Poll conducted the annual flu survey on behalf of CVS Pharmacy. More than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older completed the online survey in July 2017.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is eligible and at least six months old get a flu shot when the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October, as it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity. There are flu vaccines specifically designed for older adults. Read more on the CDC’s website.

The flu vaccine is a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. 

Topics: Clinical , Infection control