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Vicks survey reveals heavy toll of cold/flu on consumers

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CINCINNATI — A worldwide poll by cough/cold brand Vicks found that colds and flu take a hefty toll on consumers.

The Procter & Gamble brand said Tuesday that the online Vicks Global Cold and Flu Survey, conducted by Survey Monkey and including 15,000 respondents in 15 countries, revealed that on a global basis consumers reported 35 billion sick days over a 12-month period, based on 22% of those polled confirming they called in sick because of cold or flu symptoms.

The results indicated that China, with its huge population, tops the list of countries with the most sick days, averaging 12 billion days annually.

Despite health care providers’ advice that people stay home when they have a cold or the flu,  the Vicks survey showed that about two-thirds of respondents continued to go to work when sick. The top motives consumers cited when they decide not to take a sick day are fear of falling behind at the office (34.7%), financial concerns (33.6%) and work pressures (32.6%).

Globally, an estimated 60% of people who had unwell colleagues show up to work indicated frustration with that choice. By far, those in Russia (85%) and Australia (79%) were the most frustrated by unwell colleagues, while France (34%) was more tolerant when co-workers were sick at work.

In the annual survey, the top three actions people reported taking to alleviate cold and flu symptoms included drinking warm fluids, getting more rest, and taking over-the-counter, multi-symptom medicines.

A brow-raising finding of the poll was  that the average person spends a three years of his/her life with a cold, based on the respondents’ reported cold/flu incidence, the number of days the symptoms last and the average life expectancy (71 years).

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they use social media as a coping mechanism when they’re sick. People in countries with the highest mobile technology consumption habits use social media when under the weather, such as in China (88%) and India (83%), while only 36% of people in France turn to social media for support when sick.

“Vicks understands that you are not yourself when you have a cold,” stated Aalok Agrawal, Vicks global brand franchise leader. “That’s why as the world’s No. 1 cough and cold brand we are committed to the annual Vicks Global Cold & Flu survey because it helps us uncover rich insights and better understand the similarities and differences amongst modern day cold and flu sufferers worldwide, from frequency of incidence to how people deal with sick days. In 2014, we discovered the cold has gone social. Consumers, like never before, are relying on more than just medicine to feel better.”

Vicks products are used in more than 70 countries around the world. The Vicks lineup includes Vicks VapoRub Ointment, NyQuil, DayQuil and Vicks VapoDrops.


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