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Survey: Parents of newborns intimidated to ask friends, family to get Tdap vaccination

BY Michael Johnsen

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — As health departments across the country report record numbers of pertussis cases, the results of a new survey of American adults released today reveal that most parents aren’t asking adults close to their infants and young children to get an adult whooping cough booster vaccine, even though they do ask them to follow other basic precautions to safeguard their children’s health.

The survey was conducted online in May 2012 by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Sounds of Pertussis Campaign, a joint initiative from Sanofi Pasteur and March of Dimes.

The results spotlight that most parents are skipping a critical preventive health step for themselves and their babies, and it’s not because they don’t think it’s important. A large majority of parents with children ages 2 years and younger (83%) believe that vaccination is important for adults in contact with infants and young children to help protect against the spread of pertussis. Yet only 19% reported asking friends and family in close contact with their child to get an adult pertussis vaccination. Although 90% agreed that the health of family/friends/caregivers is an important consideration in order to keep their children healthy and safe, 45% estimated that fewer than half of the adults who come into close contact with their children had received an adult pertussis vaccination, and 26% weren’t sure if anyone had been vaccinated.

Only about 10% of adults have reported receiving an adult pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, while parents should be proactive about knowing the pertussis vaccination status of those in contact with their infants, and asking them to get a booster if they haven’t already, making that simple request makes many parents uncomfortable, according to the survey. More than half (61%) of parents with children ages 2 years and younger said they would feel awkward asking a family member/caregiver to get an adult pertussis vaccine.

"This survey shows we’ve come a long way in raising awareness of the importance of adult pertussis vaccination, yet too many parents still aren’t taking crucial steps to help protect their babies against the dangers of pertussis in the same way they proactively shield them from other serious dangers," stated NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, who — along with his wife, model Ingrid Vandebosch — is a representative for the Sounds of Pertussis Campaign. "As parents of two, Ingrid and I asked our friends and family to join us in getting an adult pertussis vaccine to help protect our kids against the disease, and we are urging others across the country to do the same."

The survey also looked at how influential family members and healthcare professionals can be in encouraging adults to get a pertussis booster. Among adults who haven’t been vaccinated and don’t have children at home, but who have been in contact with infants younger than 2 years of age in the past five years or expect to be in the next year, nearly half (45%) would consider getting an adult Tdap booster vaccine if a family member asked, and an even greater number, 83% would consider getting one if they were asked by their doctor or other healthcare professional.

Immunity from childhood pertussis vaccinations wears off after about five to 10 years, so even adults immunized as children may no longer be protected and should have an adult Tdap booster, especially if they will be in contact with babies.

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread through the air by infectious respiratory droplets. It is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis, which is found in the mouth, nose and throat of the person infected with the disease. The milder form of the disease, which usually occurs in adults and older children, is often mistaken for the common cold or bronchitis and can be easily spread. The disease is usually more severe in babies and young children, who will often experience severe coughing that can be followed by a "whooping" sound as they gasp for air. Oftentimes, coughing episodes can be so intense that vomiting follows.

Pertussis also can lead to other serious complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization and even death. In recent years, about 92% of pertussis deaths have occurred in infants younger than 12 months of age.

Across the United States, 8,159 provisional pertussis cases have been reported to the CDC as of May 5, 2012, representing an 87% increase compared to the same time period in 2011. Pertussis cases reached epidemic levels in Washington state this year, and cases are trending high in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

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Kline study finds bold looks, key demographic divergences ignite boost in U.S. personal care market

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — New trends in nail care, dramatic eye looks and the appeal of limited-edition scents significantly bolstered sales in the 2011 U.S. personal care market, which exceeded $38 billion at the manufacturers’ level, surpassing pre-recession levels and representing robust growth of 4.2%, according to the recent "Cosmetics & Toiletries USA" report from global consulting and research firm Kline & Co.

Makeup sales comfortably exceeded the industry average growth rate, boosted by a nearly 30% growth of nail polishes in 2011. The magnitude of this growth was partly caused by the emergence of new trends, including bold colors and special effects, that attracted women of all demographics. The category was additionally augmented by innovation in application techniques, which could be seen in such products as Sally Hansen Salon Effects and Nail Inc.’s Magnetic Polish.

Eye makeup, supported by the season’s hot “smoky-eye” look, saw a strong increase in 2011. Eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara, all used to complete the dramatic eye look, contributed to the growth seen in all trade classes.

After several years of declining sales, fragrances for women also experienced high growth in 2011 as more consumers turned to fragrances as an affordable indulgence. The luxury trade class, in particular, experienced above-average growth of more than 10%, where niche fragrances were a new trend in 2011, Kline stated. Limited distribution scents from such brands as Bond No. 9, Creed and By Kilian gained high visibility during the period. Conversely, celebrity scents experienced substantial declines.

Looking at the usage of cosmetics and toiletries by specific demographic groups, Kline’s consumer research found that a higher percentage of Hispanics use perfume or cologne regularly, at 56% of all Hispanics, as compared with 32% of the non-Hispanic population. Furthermore, about half of African-Americans use perfumes or colognes regularly, as compared with one-third of Caucasians and Asians in the United States.

The skin care product class — dominated by facial treatments — remains the largest product class. Men’s skin care became more popular, seeing the best growth in several years and now offering expanded product lines exploring new applications by creating solutions for men — such as concealers, products free of parabens, formaldehydes, dyes and added fragrances — according to Kline.

The cosmetics and toiletries market continued its upward trend due to an especially strong performance in the luxury class, which saw nearly double-digit growth. Analysis also reveals that all trade classes posted gains in 2011.

“The comparatively low growth in the professional class correlates with the greater trend we’re observing with consumers’ relatively moderate expenditure on professional services,” stated Nancy Mills, Kline’s consumer practice industry manager. “And yet, driven by ‘frugal-fatigue’ and a rising financial confidence, consumers are compensating by purchasing premium products as affordable luxuries driving sales in the luxury and mass trade classes.”



Looking ahead, Kline projects skin care and makeup to maintain exceptionally high growth over the next five years. In addition, Mills expects the dominating drivers in personal care to be multifunctional products that deliver promised results, a gradual replacement of harsh synthetic chemicals with more natural-derived products and an adoption of a more overt environmentally responsible profile. 



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NRF: Stutter step reported in May retail sales not a dark cloud over pending BTS season

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — After a strong first quarter, consumers in May took a more practical approach to their spending. According to a National Retail Federation release on Wednesday, May retail sales (excluding automobile, gas stations and restaurants) decreased 0.3% seasonally adjusted from April but increased 4.8% unadjusted year over year, marking 23 consecutive months of retail sales growth.

“As the first industry to feel any backlash from consumers’ attitudes about the revival of the economy, retailers are far from discouraged by May’s sales report; it’s evident that consumers are simply taking a breath,” stated NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Going forward, retailers will make sure to keep a steady eye on key economic indicators, being cautious with inventory and promotions as back to school — the second biggest time of the year — approaches.”

May retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales — which includes nongeneral merchandise categories, such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants — decreased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month to month but increased 7.1% unadjusted year over year.

Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month to month but increased 3.1% unadjusted year over year.

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