Ailing Canadians costing economy billions a year in sick days

    With almost 170 million of sick days taken each year, Canadians
    challenged to cut their sick days in half

    TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - While Canadians expect a seasonal illness in the
winter months, this year's cold and flu season may further side-line an
already ailing victim - the Canadian economy. In 2007, full-time working
Canadians took an average of 9.9 sick days, a full day more than just four
years earlier(1), resulting in more than 169 million missed days of work. The
impact of this increasingly absent workforce could take a heavy toll on the
weakened economy with potentially billions lost due to decreased productivity.
    In an effort to help stem the rise in health-related absenteeism, the
makers of new ZICAM(R) Cold Remedy, are challenging Canadians to cut their
sick days in half by taking a proactive approach to their healthcare. One of
the leading cold remedies in the United States and now available in Canada,
ZICAM Cold Remedy is clinically proven to significantly reduce the duration
and severity of a cold when taken at the first signs.
    "While the necessity to endure seemingly endless winters may be a reality
of living in Canada, the need to suffer from season-related illnesses and work
absenteeism is not," said Jill McChesney, a registered nurse and homeopathic
practitioner. "In order to help offset the social and economic impacts of an
ailing workforce, we are issuing a challenge to Canadians to take charge of
their health with remedies like ZICAM Cold Remedy that, if taken at the onset
of a cold, can help people recover quicker and reduce the need to call in sick
to work."

    Outbreaks of cold-causing viruses are on the rise
    Annual spikes in the number of seasonal-related illnesses and absenteeism
is due to a combination of a growing increase in the strength and incidences
of virus outbreaks(2) - which peak in late January and early February - as
well as growing job stress and an aging workforce(3). While the flu shot may
be effective in protecting against some strains of the influenza virus,
Canadians still remain vulnerable to the common cold. The rhinovirus, the
leading cause of the common cold affects many people multiple times during the
winter season.
    While most over-the-counter cold medicines are designed to relieve cold
symptoms after the cold has taken hold, ZICAM is different. Published clinical
studies have shown that Zinc Gluconicum and Zinc Aceticum, the active
ingredients in ZICAM, reduce the severity and duration of the common cold even
when treatment is started as late as the second day after onset of illness(4).
"Since there's never a good time to be sick, ZICAM Cold Remedy is an ideal
medicine that can help Canadians take charge of their colds before they need
to take a sick day," said Tim Connors, Vice President of Marketing, Zicam
Canada, Inc.

    Celebrating Canadian Nurses
    Since its inception, universal healthcare has been a cornerstone of our
Canadian society, with nurses playing a fundamental role in its development.
To recognize the tireless work of Canadian nurses who serve on the frontlines
of our healthcare system in hospitals, community care centres, medical clinics
and homecare settings, ZICAM is also launching the first-ever No-Nonsense
Nurse Awards. Canadians are encouraged to nominate a nurse who they feel
should be honoured for his or her dedication to providing unrelenting help and
care to members of their community in need.
    "Nurses are the ones who are really on the frontline when Canadians are
sick or in need," says Tim Connors. "And it's that same take-charge,
no-nonsense approach that drives the science behind ZICAM - a belief that by
taking proactive steps you can stave off unnecessary illness and lost time -
both professional and personal."
    Nominations can be submitted from February 10th through March 30th, 2009,
at where visitors can also access helpful tips on proactively
taking charge of their health. The No-Nonsense Nurse Award submissions will be
judged by nurses from across Canada with the winners - one grand prize and two
secondary prize winners - announced on April 15th, 2009.

    About ZICAM
    One of the leading cold remedies in the United States, ZICAM is a
clinically proven zinc-based cold remedy that when taken at first signs, can
significantly reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Launched in Canada
in October 2008, ZICAM celebrates its 10-year anniversary in the United
States. ZICAM(R) Cold Remedy products are available across Canada at Shoppers
Drug Mart, Pharmaprix, Loblaws, Real Canadian Super Stores, Rexall Pharma
Plus, London Drugs, Wal-Mart, Overwaitea, Zellers, Sobeys, Lawtons, A&P, Metro
and other fine retailers. The suggested retail price of ZICAM Cold Remedy is

    About Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.
    Matrixx Initiatives, Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is engaged in
the development, manufacture and marketing of over-the-counter healthcare
products that utilize innovative drug delivery systems. Zicam Canada, Inc.,
its wholly-owned subsidiary, produces, markets and sells ZICAM(R) products
specifically for the Canadian market.

    (1) Statistics Canada -
    (2)Statistics Canada - Labour Force Survey, June 2007 Perspectives Trends
and Seasonality in Absenteeism
    (3) Statistics Canada - Labour Force Survey, June 2007 Perspectives
Trends and Seasonality in Absenteeism
    4 "Efficacy of Zinc Against Common Cold Viruses: An Overview", Journal of
the American Pharmacists Association, October 2004

For further information:

For further information: Dagmara Grabowski, Weber Shandwick Worldwide,
T: (416) 642-7904, E:

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