HEALTH

When cold and flu ‘go viral,’ so do moms

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — When it comes to choosing the right medicine for their kids, moms go by the book — Facebook, that is. Moms new and old are spending more and more time on mommy blog-type sites and then tweeting or “Facebooking” any interesting tidbits they may find there. It’s a highly engaged group of consumers. According to recent findings by market researcher Morpace, U.S. Facebook users are on the site for one of every three minutes of time they spend online. Users 18 to 34 years old spend the most time on the site per week (8.5 hours out of 22.4 hours spent online). Users 55 years and older spend an average of 4.6 hours per week on Facebook.


Having a strong presence within social media proved to be a boon to Hyland’s when the company voluntarily recalled its Teething Tablets in the fall. “The energy was enormously positive, and we benefited from that in a major way,” reported Hyland’s chairman and CEO Jay Borneman. And while Hyland’s experience with its Teething Tablets some five months ago underscored the significant role social media platforms can play in a brand’s identity — not just on Facebook, but also on other social media platforms like mommy blog sites — the company also uncovered a new way to help their moms connect the dots around teething solutions for toddlers, kids’ cough-cold 
remedies and other pediatric solutions.

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Second half of cold-flu season may cough up sales

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The second half of the 2010-2011 cough-cold-flu season actually may realize greater sales of symptom relievers than last year, judging from the four weeks ended Dec. 26. According to Matrixx president and CEO Bill Hemelt, sales of remedies were on the rise in those four weeks. Hemelt noted that the total cough-cold category was 5% higher than the same period last year and growing. 


However, there still exists an inclination of retailers to order ultra-
conservatively when it comes to cough-cold remedies, Hemelt noted, so ordering may become heavy in the second half. “Retailers continued to trim their inventory levels in comparison to last year; however, we believe retailers’ inventory of our products has reached a point where they will increase purchases to offset the increased consumer takeaway,” he said.


In addition to colds, incidence of influenza also appeared on the rise heading into February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 30 states were reporting widespread influenza activity as of Jan. 29.

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Study: 53% of colds 
originate in workplace

BY Michael Johnsen



Americans are hard-pressed these days to call in sick, especially for something as innocuous as a cold or even the flu. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that nearly 72% of workers typically go to work when they are sick. Workplace pressures and “presenteeism” may be causing workers to go in under the weather, as more than half (55%) of workers said they feel guilty if they call in sick.


The CareerBuilder survey was conducted nationwide from Nov. 15 to Dec. 2, 2010, among more than 3,700 workers.


That’s good news for purveyors of cold remedies, because the men and women who are sucking it up with the help of symptom relievers are likely passing their germs on to others. More than half of workers (53%) said they have gotten sick from a co-worker who came to the office sick, while 12% said they picked up a bug from someone who was sick on public transportation going to or from work.

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