KENILWORTH, N.J., Nov. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck Manuals (called MSD Manuals outside of the United States and Canada, and together, The Manuals), one of the world's most widely-used medical resources since 1899, today released the results of a survey revealing that among those who have been sick during the holiday season, more than half (51 percent) have gone shopping while ill and nearly 2 in 3 (65 percent) confessed to going to work or school while sick.
The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Merck Manuals found that although 1 in 4 Americans (28 percent) are concerned about getting sick from family/friends or other travelers during the holiday travel season, many continue to put others at risk by engaging in regular holiday activities while sick. Among those who have been sick during the holiday season, 36 percent have visited family/friends at their home, 22 percent hosted guests at their home, and 18 percent used public transportation. The results point to the increased likelihood that Americans will come in contact with someone carrying an illness during the holidays while underscoring the importance of taking extra precautions to avoid getting ill in that time period.
"It's a good idea to approach the holidays more like an athletic event – where you actually rest up in advance, make sure you have enough regular sleep, drink alcohol minimally, or not at all, and try to avoid overeating," said Dr. Christopher Sanford, who runs a travel clinic at the University of Washington. "If you exercise regularly, continue during the holiday season. This will bring down stress and put you in a better frame of mind."
Sanford, who authored the travel medicine section of the Merck Manuals, discusses specific travel preparation tips in a recently released video series on MerckManuals.com.
According to the survey, a majority (54 percent) of Americans believe they're more likely to contract an illness while traveling than during their normal daily routines. Yet nearly 1 in 3 (31 percent) said they wouldn't change their family's travel plans to limit contact with others if they started exhibiting cold/flu-like symptoms. At the same time, 1 in 4 people (25 percent) do not take any extra precautions to stay healthy between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
"Studies have found that traveling through airports and flying on planes elevates your risk of getting a head cold or influenza – the close quarters and being coughed on certainly contribute. Regular hand washing actually is a significant help," Sanford said. "It sounds very low-tech, but studies show you can reduce your risk of catching the common cold and influenza just by washing your hands with soap and water several times a day."
The survey also addressed how Americans handle health problems while traveling. If they became sick while traveling, 39 percent of Americans say consulting an online medical resource would be their first instinct. This number jumps to 52 percent among millennials (adults age 18-34).
As the world gets smaller and more families travel to be together during the holidays, making sure everyone stays healthy is a key part of The Manuals' overarching mission throughout Global Medical Knowledge 2020 – a worldwide initiative to make current and accurate medical information accessible to nearly three billion consumers and health care professionals by 2020.
Visit MerckManuals.com to learn more about travel preparations and managing health problems in transit, and to view Dr. Sanford's healthy holiday travel video series.
About The Merck Manuals and MSD Manuals
First published in 1899 as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists, The Merck Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the world's most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manual evolved, it continually expanded the reach and depth of its offerings to reflect the mission of providing the best medical information to a wide cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. This year, The Manuals kicked off Global Medical Knowledge 2020, a program to make the best current medical information accessible by up to three billion professionals and patients around the world by 2020. For access to thousands of medical topics with images, videos and a constantly expanding set of resources, visit MerckManuals.com or MSDManuals.com and connect with us on social media:
Today's Merck is a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Merck Manuals from October 28-30, 2015, among 2,046 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jamie Kloss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SOURCE The Merck Manuals