New Survey Reveals Many Americans Dread Coming Down with a Cold or Flu More Than Going to the Dentist or Getting a Flat Tire

A recent survey sheds light on the significant impact cold and flu season has on Americans' lives

Sep 20, 2011, 10:00 ET from Florida Department of Citrus

BARTOW, Fla., Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new consumer survey, although many Americans dread coming down with a cold or the flu, they often wait to take any precautions against catching it, which may sideline them from their family, work and social activities. In fact, 50 percent of adults either wait until the onset of symptoms to take any action against a cold or the flu or they don't take any extra measures to prevent catching an illness.(1)

And it's clear these sicknesses come at a price, as 34 percent of respondents said they limit contact most often with their children to prevent spreading their illness, and half of working adults say they suffer through a cold or flu at work for two or more days before calling in sick to stay home and get better.

In today's fast-paced culture, getting sick is a distraction for many Americans.  While some rely most on the advice of their doctor or pharmacist (40 percent) to fight a cold or the flu, many simple solutions can be found right in the kitchen.

"It is always important to eat a nutrient-rich diet year-round to help support a strong and healthy immune system, which can help support your body's natural ability to fight sickness," says Gail Rampersaud, registered dietitian and associate in nutrition research and education in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. "It's important to choose a variety of foods that offer key nutrients in substantial amounts."

A nutrient-rich diet can help support a strong and healthy immune system

There is a variety of kitchen staples that provide a host of nutrients that may support the body's natural ability to fight against diseases, including a cold or the flu. Rampersaud suggests eating a nutrient-rich, varied diet that incorporates foods from all the major food groups, including:  

  • Fruit and vegetables: Consume at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Lean Meats: Lean meats, such as skinless chicken and turkey and lean cuts of beef, contain iron and zinc – minerals that are important for supporting the health of your immune system.
  • Liquids: One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice provides at least 100 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C is a nutrient known to be important for supporting a healthy immune system. Also, soup broths help with hydration, which is essential when you are ill.  

"Proper hydration is always important, but especially so when you are ill," adds Rampersaud. "Thirty-eight percent of Americans surveyed indicated water is their favorite way to stay hydrated when they are sick. Additionally, I recommend incorporating a vitamin C-rich beverage, such as 100 percent orange juice, to help support a healthy immune system while keeping you hydrated."

Making smart choices like maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet can help support the body's natural defenses. Good nutrition contributes to good health. No one wants to miss out on what's important in their lives.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs nearly 76,000 people, provides an annual economic impact close to $9 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida's schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit  

The Florida Department of Citrus is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Agency. The Florida Department of Citrus prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  

(1) The survey was conducted via an online survey on behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus between May 19 and May 24, 2011 by Richard Day Research. Respondents included 1,015 adults between the ages of 18 and 50 selected from a national panel of adults maintained by Survey Sampling International. Quota sampling and weighting were used to ensure the sample reflects the population on region, age, gender, race/ethnicity and household size based on the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample.

With a pure probability sample of this size, one could say with 95 percent probability that the results based on the total sample have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.

For more information contact:
Katherine Riemer

SOURCE Florida Department of Citrus