40 Percent of Americans Will Change Holiday Plans Due to H1N1 Virus, Poll Says

Forty percent of U.S. adults intend to change their holiday plans due to the risk of being exposed to the H1N1 flu virus, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by JohnsonDiversey, a global leader in the commercial cleaning and sanitizing industry.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive® between Nov. 20 and Nov. 23, 2009, asked a random sample of 1,002 adults how concern over H1N1 virus would affect their holiday plans.  In addition to the 40 percent who will alter plans, the survey reveals:

 - 10 percent of U.S. adults with children in their household will not allow their child to visit Santa Claus

 - 23 percent of U.S. adults will require guests to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival this holiday season

 - 21 percent of U.S. adults will limit travel to destinations to which they can drive, avoiding air travel

 - 17 percent will avoid using mass transportation

 - 10 percent will limit the number of guests they invite to their home

“This survey confirms that H1N1 is fundamentally altering the way people live their lives, even during the holidays,” said JohnsonDiversey president and CEO Ed Lonergan.  “But as we prepare to celebrate the holidays, people should be aware that retailers and managers of other public facilities are taking unprecedented actions to improve facility hygiene and slow the spread of the virus.”  JohnsonDiversey serves customers who maintain public facilities, such as retail stores, transportation venues, hotels and restaurants.

The survey also reveals significant differences depending on age:

 - The most concerned adults are seniors 65 or older, with 38 percent expressing concern about the H1N1 virus during the holidays (compared to 26 percent of adults ages 35-64). 

 - This same group – along with younger adults – is also most likely to change their holiday plans.  Fifty-one percent of 18 to 34 year olds and 47 percent of seniors indicate they intend to change their holiday plans in some way as a result of the virus. 

- Eighteen to 34 year olds are most likely to require holiday guests to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival to their homes (33 percent), while seniors are most likely to limit holiday travel (27 percent). 

“Proper health and hygiene precautions should provide more peace of mind to holiday celebrations,” said Dr. Jose Ramirez, a vice president at JohnsonDiversey and an infection control expert.

“Holiday revelers can substantially limit their exposure to infectious disease this holiday season by practicing good hygiene, covering their mouths and noses when sneezing, and washing their hands often,” Ramirez said. “Facility managers are also taking steps to provide more hygienic indoor environments through effective cleaning and use of leading-edge disinfection products with accelerated kill times against infectious diseases such as H1N1, MRSA and norovirus.”

The poll was conducted by telephone on behalf of JohnsonDiversey among 1,002 U.S. adults ages 18 + (of whom, 287 have children under the age of 18 living in their household) Nov. 20-23, 2009.