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.
Study: Humidity may help explain seasonality of flu virus
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Humidity may be the common denominator to help explain why flu viruses are most prevalent during the winter months in temperate climates like the United States, and most prevalent during the rainy season in many tropical regions close to the equator, according to a study released Tuesday by Virginia Tech researchers.
Possible explanations for the seasonality of the flu have been investigated in the past, such as the return of kids to school, people spending more time indoors in the winter and lower light levels that affect the immune system, but there has been no consensus among that research.
The Virginia Tech study presents for the first time the relationship between the influenza A virus viability in human mucus and humidity over a large range of relative humidities, from 17% to 100%. At low humidity, respiratory droplets evaporate completely and the virus survives well under dry conditions. But at moderate humidity, the droplets evaporate some, but not completely, leaving the virus exposed to higher levels of chemicals in the fluid and compromising the virus’ ability to infect cells.
Researchers found the viability of the flu A virus was highest when the relative humidity was either close to 100% or below 50%. “We added flu viruses to droplets of simulated respiratory fluid and to actual human mucus and then measured what fraction survived after exposure to low, medium, and high relative humidities,” stated Linsey Marr, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
The viruses survived best at low humidity, such as those found indoors in the winter, and at extremely high humidity. Humidity affects the composition of the fluid, namely the concentrations of salts and proteins in respiratory droplets, and this affects the survival rates of the flu virus.
Survey: Consumer utilization of fitness technology on the rise
ARLINGTON, Va. — More than half (55%) of U.S. online consumers used a fitness technology in the past year, and more than one-third (37%) anticipate purchasing fitness technology in the next 12 months, according to new research by the Consumer Electronics Association. "Getting Connected with Emerging Fitness Technologies" shows the number of consumers who used a fitness technology in the past year increased 8% from 2010. Results from the study were released Wednesday at the mHealth Summit.
According to the study, 46% of consumers who do not exercise cite lack of motivation as the main reason for not exercising. For those who do exercise, the top reasons are to improve overall health (76%) and to lose weight (58%). The study found the primary benefits owners attribute to using fitness technologies are to stay motivated, monitor physical activity and make exercise more enjoyable.
“We continue to see technology play an increasingly important role in health and fitness,” stated Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst, CEA. “Fitness technology is empowering consumers to assess their fitness levels, set achievable goals, track progress and make exercise more rewarding.”
Pedometers remain the most popular health and fitness device, but fitness video games saw the most dramatic increase in usage, almost doubling from 9% in 2010, to 16% in 2012. However, heart rate monitors and body mass index scales both saw a 6% decrease in usage from 2010.
“Wirelessly-connected devices have allowed for major strides within digital health and fitness,” Tillmann said. “Consumers already own devices, such as smartphones, that are capable of being used for exercise and fitness. This year we saw considerable growth in fitness apps. This enables the devices we already own to turn into pedometers, accelerometers and distance trackers.”