Survey finds majority of Americans anticipate H1N1 outbreak during upcoming flu season
BOSTON Approximately 6-in-10 Americans believe it is very or somewhat likely that there will be widespread cases of novel H1N1, with people getting very sick this coming fall or winter, according to a survey released Thursday.
Parents are more likely than people without children to believe this will occur, with 65% of parents saying it is very or somewhat likely, compared with 56% of people without children.
“These results suggest Americans are likely to support public health officials in prioritizing preparations for the possibility of a serious H1N1 outbreak in the fall or winter,” stated Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, the organization which conducted the surveys.
Despite a majority believing that a serious outbreak is likely, more than half of Americans (61%) are not concerned about their personal risk — that is, that they or their family members will get sick from novel H1N1 in the next year. This level is unchanged since the previous poll conducted from May 5 to 6. The current survey further suggests that the World Health Organization’s decision to raise the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 did not dramatically impact Americans’ level of concern about their personal risk. Only 22% of Americans knew that the WHO had raised the level, and only 8% of Americans said it made them more concerned that they or their family would get novel H1N1 in the next 12 months.
One approach that has been used in the recent outbreak as a means to slow the spread of novel H1N1 is the closing of schools. In this survey, substantial numbers of parents who have children in school or daycare report that two-week closings in the fall would present serious financial problems for them. About half (51%) of these parents report that if schools/daycares closed for two weeks, they or someone else in their household would likely have to miss work in order to care for the children. Forty-three percent of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose pay or income and have money problems; 26% of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business as a result of having to stay home in order to care for the children.
The situation is likely to be worse for minority parents. More African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare indicate that they are likely to lose pay or income and have money problems (56% and 64% respectively), as compared to Caucasian respondents (34%). And, more African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business (40% and 49% respectively), as compared with Caucasians (14%).
If the outbreak in the fall or winter is serious and leads to large-scale workforce absenteeism, the survey suggests the possibility of substantial difficulties for many people and the economy as a whole. If people had to stay home for seven to 10 days because they were sick or because they had to care for a family member who was sick, 44% indicate that they would be likely to lose pay or income and have money problems, and 25% reported that they would be likely to lose their job or business.
“The findings highlight the important role that employers would play during a future outbreak. Flexibility in their employee policies may help minimize some of the problems identified in this survey,” Blendon said.
Purdue Products unveils reformulated line of laxatives
STAMFORD, Conn. Purdue Products recently unveiled its reformulated line of Senokot branded laxatives — the tablets are not chemically processed and the primary ingredient is the deseeded pod of the senna plant.
“We’ve always been proud of the fact that Senokot Tablets are such a trusted laxative brand,” stated Charlene Bailey, director, product management, Purdue Products. “But we’re really excited to give consumers something new – especially at a time when interest is so high in natural products.” The new Senokot Tablets will be available in pharmacies nationwide in early October.
Purdue will support the introduction with a comprehensive media plan that includes national television advertising, retail account programs, coupons and rebates. In addition, the contemporary design for the brand will stand out on-shelf while reinforcing Senokot as a natural choice for today’s health-minded consumers.
Study finds physicians, nurses use dietary supplements, recommend them to patients
WASHINGTON Physicians and nurses are as likely as members of the general public to use dietary supplements and most physicians and nurses recommend supplements to their patients, according to a new study published in Nutrition Journal.
The study, which utilized data from the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals Impact Study, found that 72% of physicians and 89 of nurses used dietary supplements and that 79% of physicians and 82% of nurses said that they recommend dietary supplements to their patients.
“Health professionals including physicians and nurses are just as interested in healthy lifestyles as members of the general public and are just as likely to benefit from rational supplementation,” said lead author Annette Dickinson, consultant and past president of CRN.
The study found that the dietary supplement product most commonly used was the multivitamin, with or without minerals. Vitamins and other minerals most commonly used by both physicians and nurses after multivitamins included vitamin C, a B vitamin complex, vitamin D, vitamin E and calcium. However, physicians and nurses seemed to differ slightly on the non-vitamin and mineral products they used most often — physicians reported higher usages of green tea, fish oil, glucosamine, soy, flax seed and chondroitin (in that order) while nurses tended to use green tea, fish oil, echinacea, glucosamine and flax seed, respectively.
Overall health and wellness is the biggest motivator for taking dietary supplements, according to 40% of physicians and 48% of nurses who take supplements. However, more than two-thirds cited multiple motivations, including bone health, flu or colds, heart health, immune health, joint health, energy and musculoskeletal pain. Most physicians and nurses cite similar reasons for recommending dietary supplements to their patients, with the most common reason being for overall health and wellness (41% of physicians who recommend supplements and 62% of nurses who do). Over three-quarters (75% of physicians and 79% of nurses) also indicated that they would be interested in Continuing Medical Education regarding dietary supplements.
“It may appear surprising that physicians and nurses are as likely as the general population to be using dietary supplements, given the negative views sometimes expressed editorially in medical journals,” Dickinson said. “Physicians and nurses, as well as lay consumers, are exposed to these divergent views and must make their own decisions regarding their personal approach to wellness. The majority opt to use dietary supplements.”