HEALTH

Survey finds majority of Americans anticipate H1N1 outbreak during upcoming flu season

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON Approximately 6-in-10 Americans believe it is very or somewhat likely that there will be widespread cases of novel H1N1, with people getting very sick this coming fall or winter, according to a survey released Thursday.

Parents are more likely than people without children to believe this will occur, with 65% of parents saying it is very or somewhat likely, compared with 56% of people without children.

“These results suggest Americans are likely to support public health officials in prioritizing preparations for the possibility of a serious H1N1 outbreak in the fall or winter,” stated Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, the organization which conducted the surveys.

Despite a majority believing that a serious outbreak is likely, more than half of Americans (61%) are not concerned about their personal risk — that is, that they or their family members will get sick from novel H1N1 in the next year. This level is unchanged since the previous poll conducted from May 5 to 6. The current survey further suggests that the World Health Organization’s decision to raise the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 did not dramatically impact Americans’ level of concern about their personal risk. Only 22% of Americans knew that the WHO had raised the level, and only 8% of Americans said it made them more concerned that they or their family would get novel H1N1 in the next 12 months.

One approach that has been used in the recent outbreak as a means to slow the spread of novel H1N1 is the closing of schools. In this survey, substantial numbers of parents who have children in school or daycare report that two-week closings in the fall would present serious financial problems for them. About half (51%) of these parents report that if schools/daycares closed for two weeks, they or someone else in their household would likely have to miss work in order to care for the children. Forty-three percent of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose pay or income and have money problems; 26% of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business as a result of having to stay home in order to care for the children.

The situation is likely to be worse for minority parents. More African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare indicate that they are likely to lose pay or income and have money problems (56% and 64% respectively), as compared to Caucasian respondents (34%). And, more African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business (40% and 49% respectively), as compared with Caucasians (14%).

If the outbreak in the fall or winter is serious and leads to large-scale workforce absenteeism, the survey suggests the possibility of substantial difficulties for many people and the economy as a whole. If people had to stay home for seven to 10 days because they were sick or because they had to care for a family member who was sick, 44% indicate that they would be likely to lose pay or income and have money problems, and 25% reported that they would be likely to lose their job or business.

“The findings highlight the important role that employers would play during a future outbreak. Flexibility in their employee policies may help minimize some of the problems identified in this survey,” Blendon said.

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Purdue Products unveils reformulated line of laxatives

BY Michael Johnsen

STAMFORD, Conn. Purdue Products recently unveiled its reformulated line of Senokot branded laxatives — the tablets are not chemically processed and the primary ingredient is the deseeded pod of the senna plant.

“We’ve always been proud of the fact that Senokot Tablets are such a trusted laxative brand,” stated Charlene Bailey, director, product management, Purdue Products.  “But we’re really excited to give consumers something new – especially at a time when interest is so high in natural products.” The new Senokot Tablets will be available in pharmacies nationwide in early October. 

Purdue will support the introduction with a comprehensive media plan that includes national television advertising, retail account programs, coupons and rebates.  In addition, the contemporary design for the brand will stand out on-shelf while reinforcing  Senokot as a natural choice for today’s health-minded consumers.

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GNC releases clinical results of neuromuscular fatigue treatment

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS GNC on Monday released clinical results for its nitric oxide product Amplified Maxertion N.O. — demonstrating a delay in the onset of neuromuscular fatigue — at the National Strength and Conditioning Association conference.

GNC’s Amplified Maxertion N.O. was shown to increase power output at the onset of neuromuscular fatigue by an average of 20% and improve physical performance by helping athletes push past their normal point of exhaustion.

“This is truly groundbreaking research that has resulted in the delivery of a truly novel and clinically-validated [sports nutrition] product to the industry,” stated Guru Ramanathan, SVP technology and product innovation for GNC. “Using advanced technology and ingredients, this is the first nitric oxide enhancing product to demonstrate significant athletic performance effects that are relevant and meaningful to all types of athletes.”

Amplified Maxertion N.O. is part of a comprehensive line of eight new advanced muscle performance and sports nutrition products from GNC. The entire Pro Performance AMP line was designed to suit the needs of a wide range of dedicated athletes, from the weekend warrior to the ultra competitive athlete.

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