Influenza-like illness, the time to seek healthcare, and influenza antiviral receipt during the 2010-2011 influenza season-United States

J Infect Dis. 2014 Aug 15;210(4):535-44. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu224. Epub 2014 Apr 13.


Background: Few data exist describing healthcare-seeking behaviors among persons with influenza-like illness (ILI) or adherence to influenza antiviral treatment recommendations.

Methods: We analyzed adult responses to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 31 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and pediatric responses in 25 states and DC for January-April 2011 by demographics and underlying health conditions.

Results: Among 75 088 adult and 15 649 child respondents, 8.9% and 33.9%, respectively, reported ILI. ILI was more frequent among adults with asthma (16%), chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD; 26%), diabetes (12%), heart disease (19%), kidney disease (16%), or obesity (11%). Forty-five percent of adults and 57% of children sought healthcare for ILI. Thirty-five percent of adults sought care ≤ 2 days after ILI onset. Seeking care ≤ 2 days was more frequent among adults with COPD (48%) or heart disease (55%). Among adults with a self-reported physician diagnosis of influenza, 34% received treatment with antiviral medications. The only underlying health condition with a higher rate of treatment was diabetes (46%).

Conclusions: Adults with underlying health conditions were more likely to report ILI, but the majority did not seek care promptly, missing opportunities for early influenza antiviral treatment.

Keywords: Healthcare-seeking behavior; influenza; influenza antiviral treatment; time to seek healthcare.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Seasons
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents