GSK Consumer Healthcare hires Olympic gold medalist in cold sores campaign

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The consumer health division of GlaxoSmithKline has enlisted an Olympic gold medalist to educate the public about cold sores and promote its OTC cold sore treatment.

The company said Thursday that it had hired Misty May-Treanor, three-time gold medalist in beach volleyball, in a campaign to dispel myths about cold sores as the cold and flu season approaches. GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Pam Marquess noted that about 80 million Americans get cold sores, which are caused by a herpes virus related to the same ones that causes illnesses like chickenpox and mononucleosis.

"I've gotten cold sores for as long as I can remember, and they always seem to pop up at the worst possible time, and for me, that was right in the middle of the 2012 London Games," May-Treanor said. "I have been using Abreva for years, and I stick with it because it heals my cold sores fast."

According to a survey conducted for GlaxoSmithKline by Wakefield Research, 52% of respondents were unaware that cold sores go through multiple stages of development before beginning to heal, and half did not realize that if left untreated, they can take up to two weeks to heal.