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AARP Research

AARP Bulletin Survey on Flu Prevention

The AARP Bulletin commissioned a nationwide survey in October 2013 in an effort to learn about preventative behaviors adults may engage in during cold and flu season to help prevent them from getting sick.   

Key findings include:

  • Roughly half of adults (51%) plan to get a flu shot this year.  This increases with age (60% of those 50+ compared to only 43% of those age 18-49). 
  • The most common preventative behavior is washing hands more often.  Across age groups, nine in ten respondents (92%) say they wash their hands more often to protect themselves from germs.
  • In general, women are more likely than men to engage in various preventative behaviors.  For example, women (95%) are more likely than men (89%) to say they wash their hands more often.  Women (78%) are also more likely than men (68%) to say they used hand sanitizers to protect themselves from germs.
  • Most adults (72%) go to work or school when they are sick at least some of the time.  More than half (52%) go to work or school most of the time when they are sick and two in ten (20%) say they go to school some of the time. 
  • Older adults (age 50+) are less likely than younger adults (age 18-49) to say they go to work or school when sick.  More than half of younger adults (55%) say they go to work or school when sick most of the time compared to only 43% of older adults.  

The survey was conducted for the AARP Bulletin by SSRS, an independent research firm.  Telephone interviews were conducted October 9-13, 2013 among a nationally representative sample of 1005 adults age 18 and older. For more information, contact Laura Skufca at (202) 434-6285.

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Rebecca Gillian

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