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.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2014. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.