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Red Cross Survey Finds Overwhelming Majority of Public Taking Steps against H1N1 Flu Virus
Date:8/27/2009

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are planning on getting vaccinated against H1N1 flu

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent poll on the H1N1 flu conducted by the American Red Cross found that more Americans are taking or planning on taking extra measures to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissue (78%) or wash their hands more carefully (76%) to avoid getting the flu.

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The survey also found that 62 percent plan on being vaccinated against this new flu virus if one is offered.

While only 1 in 10 of those surveyed by the Red Cross claimed to be very worried about H1N1 flu (swine flu), results show people have a strong interest in taking protective actions.

The survey found that 93 percent of Americans are taking or planning to take at least one action to guard against this new flu. Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) plan on assembling a two-week supply of food, water and medicine that they might need in the event they or someone in their family becomes sick and need to stay home for extended periods of time.

"Even though most Americans aren't extremely worried about the virus, they seem interested in taking steps to protect themselves and their families," said Scott Conner, Red Cross senior vice president of preparedness and health and safety services. "Taking those basic steps -- such as washing your hands more frequently and remaining at home if you are sick become even more important as the new flu season approaches."

The survey results also found that women are more likely to take protective actions, with 84 percent making an extra effort to cover coughs and sneezes (versus 71 percent for men), and 81 percent washing their hands more carefully and more often (compared to 71 percent for men).

However, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that a vaccine may not be available until later this fall, the Red Cross is urging people to remember these simple actions to help guard against the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are feeling sick.

As with any emergency, the Red Cross encourages people to prepare by getting an emergency kit, making a plan and being informed.

Later this fall, the Red Cross will be releasing a Pandemic Flu educational program for small businesses to help raise awareness and educate workplaces on what to expect and how to plan for a pandemic. Smaller companies often operate with fewer resources and limited capacity compared to their larger counterparts and can be particularly at risk for disruptions resulting from a flu pandemic.

More information about H1N1 and the seasonal flu is available at www.redcross.org/pandemicflu. This site contains video resources, preparedness tips and information about how to help lessen the spread of the flu virus. The Red Cross also has products available at www.redcrossstore.org to help people protect themselves against the flu.

The telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults 18 years and older was conducted July 17-20, 2009 by CARAVAN(R) Opinion Research Corporation. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization -- not a government agency -- and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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