Does a Cold Sore Make You Want to Run for Cover? The Carmex® “Let’s Get Closer” Survey Reveals How People Really Feel

If you are one of more than half of Americans between the ages of 21-54, who say they have ever had a cold sore, you may also share the attitudes and behaviors of people who know how these unattractive and unwelcome cold sores may make you feel.


Carma Laboratories, the company that has been manufacturing Carmex® lip balm for over 78 years, recently introduced Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment, a product that works on contact to block pain and itch while minimizing the appearance of a cold sore1. Cold sores can be inconvenient, embarrassing and always seem to happen at the most inopportune time. In order to better understand the social challenges cold sores create, Carma Laboratories recently completed a Harris Poll of over 1,100 adults age 21-54.


So, just how do Americans feel about cold sores? According to the Carmex “Let’s Get Closer” survey*, almost half of adults ages 21-54 would be very to somewhat likely to cancel a date if they woke up with a cold sore. This feeling was more prevalent among women and men between the ages of 21-44. A geographic breakdown shows this to be more of a reality among people from the South (56%) or Midwest (49%).


More than 1 in 4 Americans said they would be very to somewhat likely to postpone a job interview. Interestingly, men were more likely to say that they would be somewhat likely to take a day off from work because of a cold sore.


Twenty nine (29%) percent acknowledge that they would wonder if the cold sore was contagious and (26%) percent would wonder if it was herpes. Close to 2 in 5 said they would be very to somewhat likely to cut short a date if their date showed up with a cold sore.


It would seem obvious that no one really wants to kiss someone if they have a cold sore, yet surprisingly, men might still consider it! Sixty seven (67%) of women said they would be very unlikely to do this, while (57%) say they would be unlikely.


If you do have an occasional or frequent cold sore, do you ever wonder what people are thinking when they see you? Gratifyingly, (68%) of those ages 21-34 and (67%) of those ages 35-44 think “That must be painful.” Forty nine percent (49%) of ages 45-54 share this reaction. On the other hand, caution prevails.  Thirty one percent (31%) between 21-44 wonder if it’s contagious versus (22%) of ages 45-54. Herpes is on people’s minds too when they see a cold sore with (29%) of 21-34 year olds and (28%) of 35-44 year olds wondering if the cold sore might be herpes. Interestingly, men (13%) are more likely than women (7%) to think that the person with a cold sore isn’t clean.


Only NEW Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment works on contact to block pain and itch while minimizing the appearance of a cold sore. 10% Benzocaine blocks pain and itch, while the TriPLEX™ Formula technology smoothes and fills to make the cold sore less noticeable. And, it works on contact – so you see and feel results fast. While no product can cure a cold sore, this breakthrough product may help sufferers feel more comfortable and confident while managing through a cold sore outbreak.

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Credit: Carmex Cold Sore Treatment.   

When used to help conceal. Individual results may vary. For treatment of symptoms associated with cold sores. Product does not treat viral infections. Use as directed

2 Pharmacy Times: Survey of Pharmacists’ OTC Recommendations (1999-2014)


*Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States from January 13-15, 2015 among 1,100 adults ages 21-54, by Harris Poll. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Poll panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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