A Survey of the Experience and Impact of Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections on People in Six Countries in the 2011/2012 Common Cold and Flu Season


Introduction: Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs) are the most common infectious diseases of humankind. While usually mild and self-limiting, they are characterized by a series of simultaneously occurring symptoms/ signs that are sufficiently disruptive to sufferers’ normal activities in which medication is frequently sought. While the literature has many examples of epidemiological studies on these infections, there are few reports on patient experience and impact. This study was designed to investigate these aspects of Common Cold/Flu across six countries. Methods: A minimum of 500 adults aged 18 and older were recruited in each of six countries (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russia, and the US) using customary survey research sampling techniques. Single 30-minute (online) or 40-minute door-to-door quantitative questionnaires with c. 50 questions were completed with each participant by the global research firm Ipsos. Main Findings: Across countries, incidence and seasonality of infections reported to this study were consistent with published data. There appears to be a need for patient education on the causes and transmission routes of respiratory infections. Getting good quality sleep and being able to continue with daily activities as an infection resolves are significant drivers to therapy. The most common non-prescription therapies reported were multi-ingredient products in line with the simultaneously occurring multi-symptom nature of the condition(s). Conclusions: This study indicated that acute URTIs exert a significant deleterious effect on sufferers. Public health education, possibly best undertaken by Pharmacists has the potential to impact the extent of virus transmission by ensuring that people know the true cause of the infection, how it is transmitted and how best to combat this. The several simultaneously occurring symptoms encourage sufferers to seek multi-ingredient remedies to allow them to continue with normal activities as their infection resolves naturally.

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J. Hull, I. Barton, J. Torgersen and C. McNeil, "A Survey of the Experience and Impact of Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections on People in Six Countries in the 2011/2012 Common Cold and Flu Season," Open Journal of Respiratory Diseases, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 175-187. doi: 10.4236/ojrd.2013.34026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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