Procter & Gamble said it's seen a spike in sales of over-the-counter medicine as cold and flu season makes a comeback

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Procter & Gamble said it's seen a spike in sales of over-the-counter medicine as cold and flu season makes a comeback
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Procter & Gamble is seeing a spike in demand for products like cold medicine compared to last year.
  • Last year's cold and flu season was uncharacteristically mild, with only 748 reported flu deaths.

Sales of healthcare products are soaring at Procter & Gamble as cold and flu season ramps up nationwide.

P&G released financial results on Tuesday for the quarter ended September 30. The consumer goods giant, which makes Bounty paper towels, Crest toothpaste, and Luvs diapers, reported a 7% spike in sales of healthcare products versus a year ago.

P&G said it's seeing double-digit sales increases in personal healthcare goods like respiratory products - the company offers cough and cold products like Vicks VapoRub, DayQuil, NyQuil, and Sinex - as consumer demand ramps back up. Demand for those products likely diminished last year amid pandemic lockdowns, when more people stayed home, wore masks, and practiced social distancing.

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As Insider's Erin Schumaker reported, last year's flu season was unusual compared with previous years: Between October 2020 and July 2021, 2,136 specimens tested in US labs were positive for influenza, and 748 deaths from the flu were reported, according to a JAMA article, which cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The year prior, 38 million infections and 22,000 deaths were associated with the flu, according to CDC data.

The common cold began making a comeback over the summer, when rates of adenovirus, parainfluenza, and RSV were on the rise nationwide as people socialized mask-less and immunity waned.

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And now, experts are predicting that this year's flu season could rebound, resulting in a higher rate of hospitalizations. According to two non-peer-reviewed analyses conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, as COVID-19 safety measures continue to become more relaxed, there could be a resurgence of other respiratory illnesses, including the flu.

In addition, because last year's flu season was mild, the general population has waning immunity against the flu, the researchers found.

As a result, hospitalizations due to the flu could total up to 600,000, which is 100,000 more than a typical flu season, according to the researchers.

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"The possibility of a 'twindemic' is pretty real this year," Brian Dixon, the director of public-health informatics at the Indiana University School of Public Health and at the Regenstrief Institute, recently told the Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR.

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