How to Beat Cold Sores
I used to get cold sores regularly, until I discovered a simple natural way to prevent them happening ever again! And no, I'm not sellng it, it's not expensive and it's easy to find - and it's not an old wives' tale or a home remedy either (like the ones in the video below).
OK, so every now and then, maybe once a year, a sore does manage to sneak through - but now I also know how to stop it in its tracks while it's still just a tingle.
You see, the one good thing about cold sores is that they have an early warning system - that strange tingling sensation that you feel just before they erupt. If you can start treatment then, you can prevent the sore even forming.
How to Kill Cold Sores
My secret weapon - and it's a very powerful one - is Lysine. And the good news is, it's completely natural. You'll find it at any local health food store. You need 500mg tablets (lower doses are not effective).
The proper name for lysine is L-Lysine hydrochloride. It may sound like a chemical, but actually it's an amino acid, one of the basic building blocks our food is made of. Buy it in its pure form and it's an amazing cold sore fighter, blocking the virus from multiplying.
Take one tablet every hour for up to 8 hours. The sore won't disappear, but it should flatten and become less angry. If it doesn't, you can repeat the treatment next day.
After that, take one tablet 3 times a day for a week - whether or not the cold sore has disappeared - to avoid another flare-up.
Some unscrupulous people are selling ointments containing Lysine. They do not work! Lysine works ONLY if you swallow it in a tablet or liquid form
You'll find plenty of cold sore tablets on Amazon but I like this pure Lysine. It's the right dose and you're not paying extra for added ingredients (which are usually just marketing hype).
Why Lysine Works
Cold sores are caused by the Herpes virus. The virus feeds on arginine, which is an amino acid found in many foods.
Lysine blocks the supply of arginine to the virus - and if it can't feed, it can't survive.
How to Prevent Cold Sores
You can use Lysine as a preventer, by taking one or two tablets per day. Most authorities say it's safe, but others say long-term use isn't advisable. If you're getting frequent attacks for no apparent reason, it's worth trying to modify your diet to see if it helps.
Even when you don't have an active cold sore, the Herpes virus is sitting dormant in your system. It feeds on arginine, so if you eat a lot of arginine-rich foods, that can stimulate the virus into action and trigger a cold sore. So it makes sense that avoiding the following foods may avoid an attack:
- chocolate (sorry!)
- most nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
- most seeds (flax, sesame and sunflower)
Note that many protein foods (e.g. turkey) are high in arginine BUT they are also high in lysine, which prevents the virus from feeding. So you can eat those without worrying.
You can also try boosting your lysine intake naturally by eating plenty of the following foods:
- Dairy products (including yoghurt and cheese)
- Apples, mangoes, apricots, pears (and many other fruits).
- Fish (especially flounder)
It's always a good idea to carry an emergency treatment with you wherever you go. It's hardly practical to carry a supply of Lysine tablets, but there is one thing that can kill a cold sore stone dead, IF you start using it as soon as you notice the tingle.
It's acyclovir (or aciclovir), and you'll find it in ointments like Zovirax. These creams come in a tiny tube that will fit into the smallest pocket or purse, so it's perfect to carry with you for emergencies.
Don't just dab a little on and forget it - that's not enough to arrest the virus. Keep using the cream for a day or so, even if the tingling's gone. And of course, you should start taking a "preventer" dose of Lysine as soon as you get home, to be on the safe side.
Originally, acyclovir creams were useless once the cold sore had developed, but the newer formulas do make a difference. Read the packet: if it doesn't claim to have an effect on established cold sores, it doesn't.
Natural Remedies for Cold Sores
If (for some strange reason) you don't want to use Lysine, I have bad news for you - there isn't another natural remedy that works. Sorry!
Natural creams generally contain moisturisers to prevent cracking, and soothing ingredients that will make the cold sore feel less painful. But let's face it, it's not the pain that worries most of us - it's how gross it looks! And the trouble with softening the sore is that it can actually make the sore last longer, because the virus seems to like being moist.
You'll get a better result by dabbing the cold sore frequently with alcohol (e.g. methylated spirits, surgical spirit, rubbing alcohol). This will help dry it out, which can speed up healing.
If you really want to try some alternative remedies, you can find a list in this article - but I would advise you not to waste your money!
Sores In Your Mouth
If you have painful ulcers inside your mouth, those are not cold sores - they are canker sores. Unfortunately Lysine will not work on canker sores, because they have a different cause.
There isn't much that can be done for canker sores. You can try rinsing your mouth with a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 cup of warm water: it will soothe the sting and may help kill bacteria so it heals faster. Milk of Magnesia dabbed directly on the sore also soothes irritation.
Reminder - Hygiene
If you're a cold sore sufferer, you probably know this already - however it bears repeating.
Please wash your hands every time you touch your cold sore!
Anti-bacterial wipes and gels are NOT enough in this situation. And when I say wash your hands, I don't mean a quick swipe under the tap.
The Herpes virus which causes cold sores is extremely contagious, so you need to be very careful while you are suffering an outbreak. It's a myth to say the sores aren't contagious if they're not weeping - they are contagious from the moment they begin until the scab disappears.
Because you may touch your face unconsciously, it's wise to wash your hands at frequent intervals during an outbreak, not just when you touch the sore.
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