Americans' Perceptions off When it Comes to Coughs

Underlining the importance of the knowledge and guidance offered by pharmacists, the results of 2 surveys revealed that a large proportion of US adults are not clear on cough treatments. Although flu education has become a prevalent theme in light of the H1N1 outbreak, it appears that the information on symptoms and treatments may not have gotten through to many Americans, or at the very least, that clarification is needed for patients still unsure about how to treat their coughs, according to the results of the surveys, both conducted for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) by Harris Interactive.

“We found patients are still confused about cold and flu symptoms and how best to treat them, even though there’s been a lot of education about the flu this year,” said Mary Ellen Roberts, RN, APN, MSN, MA, FAANP, nurse practitioner and AANP board member.

The first survey, conducted in January—prior to the H1N1 outbreak—queried more than 500 nonsmokers aged 25 to 55 who reported having a cough due to cold or flu during the previous year. Results showed that 73% had experienced sleep disruption due to a cough during the past year—the symptom most commonly reported by cough sufferers, as well as the one most strongly associated with cough severity and likelihood of seeking professional treatment. Despite this, >two-thirds of those who did not stay home due to their cough reported doing so because they did not want to miss school or work.

“Cough sufferers need to know that when they don’t get their symptoms treated rapidly and properly, they might not only lose effective rest, but there can be far-reaching ramifications on their work and school days,” said Roberts.

For other articles in this issue, see:

EHRs May Not Deliver All That They Promise

Drinking Coffee and Tea May Cut Diabetes Risk

Memphis Pharmacy May Close After 4 Burglaries