ZocDoc and Grubhub Find a Soup-er Correlation for Cold and Flu Season

Feb 11, 2016, 09:07 ET from ZocDoc

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For many Americans, soup is the ultimate comfort food when the sniffles take hold. A new data analysis from digital health marketplace ZocDoc and the nation's leading online and mobile food ordering company Grubhub suggests the home remedy is still tried and true. The annual wintertime uptick of cold and flu-related doctor appointments has a strong correlation with increased soup delivery orders nationwide.

In fact, when ZocDoc saw its largest spikes in cold and flu appointment bookings in 2014 and 2015 (+15 percent on average compared to the weekly average of appointments for the year), Grubhub experienced an average uptick of 22 percent in soup orders as well. During those same time periods, mentions of having a sore throat, being sick or having the flu were also 283 percent more likely to appear in delivery instructions of orders containing soups than orders without.

With experts cautioning that peak cold and flu season is still ahead this year, restaurateurs may want to stock their soup selections while those facing seasonal sickness consider their best remedy options.

Based on the data, certain soups seem to offer more comfort for cold and flu sufferers. Chicken noodle and chicken rice soup, for example, were among the top 10 soup types ordered during the past two years' cold and flu appointment spikes. Grubhub saw orders of the two soups increase by an average of 30.6 percent and 41.8 percent, respectively.

The benefits of soup, and particularly chicken soup, go beyond evoking memories of comfort, according to Dr. Keri Peterson, an internist affiliated with ZocDoc:

"Scientists have put the age-old remedy of chicken soup to the test in the past and discovered that it does seem to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose, helping alleviate congestion.  Clear-broth soups also hydrate your body, which is of utmost importance when illness sets in."

Here are five other tips from Dr. Peterson for surviving the remainder of the season:

  • Wash your hands well. The most important measure for preventing colds and flu is frequent hand washing. Be sure to lather your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds to help rid your skin of germs.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose. These are direct entry points for germs. Most adults touch their face about 16 times a day, and children do so a lot more often, which increases the spread of germs, as we then touch surfaces throughout our homes, schools and workplaces.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Daily activities that keep your immune system strong help prevent illness. Resist the urge to swap a workout for cozy couch time as temperatures drop. And up your intake of cold-fighting anti-oxidants like Zinc, Vitamin C and Echinacea.

  • Hydrate to help flush your system. Drinking water and keeping nasal passages moist with a saline spray can reduce your risk of infection. Water, juice, clear-broth soup or warm lemon water are all good choices.

  • If you start to feel symptoms, see a doctor. It's easy to snag a same-day appointment with ZocDoc when you start feeling sick. The platform allows patients to find in-network, neighborhood doctors and instantly book appointments online or in through the free app.

View and download an interactive version of ZocDoc's cold and flu appointment data and Grubhub's soup order data from 2014 and 2015 here.

About ZocDoc
ZocDoc is the tech company at the beginning of a better healthcare experience. Each month, millions of patients use ZocDoc to find in-network neighborhood doctors, instantly book appointments online, see what other real patients have to say, get reminders for upcoming appointments and preventive check-ups, fill out their paperwork online, and more. With a mission to give power to the patient, ZocDoc's online marketplace delivers the accessible, seamless, and simple experience patients expect and deserve. ZocDoc is free for patients and available across the United States via ZocDoc.com or the ZocDoc app for iPhone and Android.

About Grubhub
Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) is the nation's leading online and mobile food-ordering company. Dedicated to moving eating forward and connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, the company's platforms and services strive to elevate food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub is proud to work with more than 40,000 restaurant partners in over 1,000 U.S. cities and London. The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, AllMenus, MenuPages, Restaurants on the Run, DiningIn and Delivered Dish.

Media Contact
Jaime Askew l jaime.askew@zocdoc.com l 646.783.3908

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