Working Women Rely on OTC Products for Flu Season

November 21, 2014
Aimee Simone, Associate Editor

During cold and flu season, working women turn to pharmacies whenever symptoms appear, according to the results of a recent study conducted by Workplace Impact.

During cold and flu season, working women turn to pharmacies whenever symptoms appear, according to the results of a recent study conducted by Workplace Impact.

A total of 6683 working women completed an online survey about their shopping habits for cough, cold, and flu prevention and treatment products.

The results indicated that many working women take steps to prevent illness during cold and flu season. When asked what they do to stay healthy, hand washing was the most common behavior.

Hand sanitizer was the most popular prevention product, used by 73.3% of women surveyed, followed by vitamins (65.3%), and flu shots (60.9%). In addition, 43% indicated that they are always prepared with a supply of cough, cold, and flu products in their work desk during the season.

When symptoms occur, many women continue to work and rely on OTC products to feel better. Among the women surveyed, 36.3% said they will power through illness in order to go to work and 31% said they make the decision to work or stay home depending on their workload. Of those who do go to work sick, 73.7% do so because they are concerned about not getting enough work done.

Although 41% of women said they stocked up on products at the beginning of the season, 91% also purchase products when symptoms appear. Drug stores were the preferred place to purchase these products for 45.1% of women, while 25% chose grocery stores, and 21.3% shopped at discount stores.

When symptoms do occur, 71.4% of women purchase products to relieve their specific symptoms, 58.4% purchase tissues, 51.7% buy cold-relief medication, and 51.4% pick up cough medication. In addition, 43.3% and 39.1% also purchase comfort foods and drinks, respectively, during these shopping trips.

The survey also asked women how they determine which products to purchase. A total of 71.2% of women said their purchasing decisions were influenced by a physician’s recommendation, 64.2% made decisions based on coupons, 57.2% were influenced by word of mouth, and 44.8% chose products based on samples. In addition, 75% said they do not research products before they buy them.