Understanding Flu Treatment

Flu season comes around every year, causing millions of people to catch the virus which can infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.1 The flu can mean more than missing work or school. It can result in hospitalization, and in rare cases it can even be fatal.1,2 If you experience flu-like symptoms, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider within 48 hours. And yet, many people suffer in silence. We partnered with The Harris Poll to find out why that is.

We surveyed 2,005 adults in the U.S. to learn about peoples’ perceptions, misconceptions, and experiences with managing the flu. Our goal was to identify barriers that prevent adults from seeking treatment within the critical 48-hour window.

Most notably, the survey showed:

Only 29% of those who think they have the flu visit the doctor within the critical first 48-hour window.3

More than half of people don’t know or are not sure that there are flu treatment options available that can help you feel better faster.3

The Impact of Flu in the U.S.

Since 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the flu has resulted in:

The first line of defense is knowing the symptoms.


Flu symptoms start abruptly and are severe, whereas cold symptoms come on gradually.4 Common flu symptoms include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, runny nose, headaches and fatigue.4

Almost half of people surveyed said they don’t know or are not sure that the worst flu symptoms do not appear until 2 or 3 days after first experiencing symptoms.3

The flu spreads quickly

The flu is highly contagious and is easily spread.1

Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to spread the flu as early as one day before their symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.1

Treatment within the first 48 hours of symptom onset is critical, but people don’t know that they can take action to fight the flu.

Of all the U.S. adults surveyed:

About half of adults said they believe the only thing someone can do when they have the flu is wait it out.3

A third of people surveyed said they don’t know what to ask their doctor when it comes to flu treatment.3

More than half of people who have thought they had the flu noted they have suffered through it without taking any medications.3

When it comes to flu treatment, almost 6 in 10 people think you can only mask symptoms of the flu, you can’t treat it at its source or they are not sure.3

Being sick from the flu
can have a big impact on daily life.

Flu sufferers said they missed an average of 3 days of work.3

About 60% said they took days to get back on track the most recent time they thought they had the flu.3

Unsurprisingly, parents also prioritize their kids’ health more than their own.

Almost 8 in 10 employed parents said they were more likely to take the day off when their child is sick than when they personally are feeling sick.3

70% of parents surveyed would take their kids to the doctor if they thought their child was sick, but only 33% of parents would go to the doctor if they themselves were sick.3

There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu.

Get vaccinated

The CDC recommends that all people six months of age and older should be vaccinated annually. Talk to a healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you.5

Stop the spread

Steer clear of people who are sick, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash hands frequently.1

Seek treatment

Antiviral treatments can be used to treat flu illness. The CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have flu infection or suspected flu infection and who are at high risk of serious flu complications, such as people with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.6

Antiviral medicines help reduce the duration of flu symptoms and are most effective if taken within 48 hours of symptom onset.6

If you experience sudden flu symptoms,
contact your healthcare provider within 48 hours
to learn about treatment options.