As people go back to work, school and socializing, they might find themselves facing the once common but not terrifying threat: the bug going around. For most, it won’t be the coronavirus that caused the global COVID-19 pandemic, but a minor malady. As masks come off and social distancing becomes less stringent, people are becoming reacquainted with the germs they managed to avoid over the last year and a half. So just like in pre-pandemic times, consumers are again thinking about how to prevent or treat routine colds, flus and other respiratory ailments.
Last year, sales of cough and cold remedies decreased dramatically when people stayed home, many with their stash of OTC medicines purchased during the initial pantry-loading phase of the pandemic. Now routine respiratory ailments are making a comeback, as consumers are becoming less strict with their own protocols. That is driving an uptick in illnesses, and boosting sales in the cough-cold category.
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“What’s happening is people are being more relaxed with their behaviors,” said MaryEllen Tefft, vice president of sales for food, drug and mass at Newtown Square, Pa.-based Boiron USA. “What we’re seeing, anecdotally, is there are a lot of common colds going around. People have gotten themselves tested, but they are finding it’s not COVID but other viruses circulating out of the winter season.”