Delayed allergy season may be longer, worse

While cough-cold season 2012-2013 will go down in the record books as one of the better seasons in recent memory, the spring allergy season has been delayed into May thanks to recent storm systems traveling across the central United States into the Northeast that have triggered a "faux spring." Temperatures rose briefly and dipped, causing pollen counts to grow and then fall.

For the 52 weeks ended April 21, sales of the three leading allergy tablets were all down: Zyrtec down by 3.8%; Claritin down 1.2%; and Allegra down 14.9%.

"This is a late-developing allergy season," explained Scott Hanslip, director of sales for IMS Consumer Health, to DSN. Through the beginning of May, incidence of allergy was down 12.6%. "[And] certain pockets are way off where they should be," Hanslip added. North Central allergy incidence was down 28% for the spring season, for example.

But the same weather conditions that have delayed allergy incidence may be setting the stage for a stronger and extended spring allergy season, noted the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "Severe weather patterns can bring higher temperatures, higher pollen levels and increased exposure to outdoor mold, resulting in spring allergies that can peak stronger and last longer," stated Bill Berger, spokesman for the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Southern California.

As part of the AAFA's annual ranking of projected nasal allergy problem areas, allergies may become more severe across the South as the season progresses. Overall, 15 of the top 25 cities on this year's ranking are in the South, AAFA stated.

Expectations are that allergy sales heading into the summer season will swing positive, pushing category sales for that period as much as 5% higher than last year.

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Allergy Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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