Cold, Flu Caused 35 Billion Sick Days Last Year

March 8, 2015
Krystle Vermes

An estimated 6 billion individuals worldwide had cold or flu symptoms in the past year, resulting in a collective total of 35 billion sick days.

An estimated 6 billion individuals worldwide had cold or flu symptoms in the past year, resulting in a collective total of 35 billion sick days.

This data comes from the fourth annual Vicks Global Cold and Flu Survey, in which 22% of respondents said they called in sick due to cold or flu symptoms over a 12-month period.

Nevertheless, approximately two-thirds of the world’s population continues to go to work with cold or flu symptoms, despite health care professionals’ instructions to stay home. About 34% of those who decide against taking a sick day do so out of fear of falling behind at the office, while 33% cited financial concerns and 32% noted job pressures.

On average, an individual spends approximately 3 years of his or her life with a cold, the survey found.

To reduce cold and flu incidence, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand-washing, good respiratory hygiene, and annual influenza vaccination.