Australians have become increasingly conscious of respiratory health and hygiene in public, with more than eight in 10 likely to have changed their attitudes towards it compared to 18 months ago.
YouGov research commissioned by saline drop-maker Fess reveals 46 per cent of survey respondents feel embarrassed to cough or sniffle in public places.
More than a thousand adults took part in the poll across the country, with women more likely than men to say they now feel awkward about coughing or having a blocked nose when out (54 per cent to 39 per cent).
They are also more inclined to feel concerned when they hear others cough or sniffle (46 per cent to 36 per cent).
The changing attitudes towards respiratory health and hygiene are also more likely to keep Australians at home when they’re experiencing a blocked or runny nose.
Four in 10 respondents were concerned about passing on germs and 35 per cent worried that others would see them as germ spreaders.
With respiratory health top of mind, breathing has also risen in popularity as a tool to help manage stress.
A quarter of the respondents affected over the past 12-18 months said they’d taken up meditation or deep breathing as a new healthy habit.
National Asthma Council Sensitive Choice program manager David Furniss says it’s promising the research shows breathing is increasingly becoming an important part of overall wellbeing.
“It is important to be proactive about respiratory health and healthy breathing can have a positive impact on other aspects of wellbeing like sleep and stress management,” he said.