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Herpes Cold Sores Symptom: Dry Lips, HS Virus And More

Updated on August 11, 2012

Itching, burning, tingling around the lips is a sign that you are a couple of days away from an outbreak of cold sores. Cold sores or fever blisters begin as small spots on or around the lips, which eventually erupt into painful, open sores. The sores develop scabs and usually heal in under two weeks. Lesions can also develop inside the mouth where they can combine together to form very painful sores.

Other symptoms that may occur are fever, loss of appetite, flu like symptoms and irritability. In most cases these sores are caused by a highly contagious virus known as herpes simplex 1 (HS1). The virus is spread through kissing, sexual contact and other skin to skin contact. HS1 is not the same as the virus that causes genital herpes. Once exposure has occurred, the virus may show no symptoms until they are triggered by stress, lip exposure to the sun, fever, dental treatments or food sensitivities.

It is estimated that eighty percent of North Americans carry the virus. Once you have it, you have it for life. Cold sore outbreaks depend upon whether your immune system is strong enough to suppress them. Between twenty to forty percent of carriers having recurring outbreaks. Research is now showing that there may be connection between the herpes virus and serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and neurological conditions. The HS1 virus has been specifically linked to trigeminal neuralgia, Alzheimer’s disease and Bell’s palsy. The good news is that an immune system incapable of preventing an outbreak can be strengthened.

As always, the first step in strengthening the immune system should be the avoidance of foods and beverages that weaken it. Avoid high fat, high sugar foods low in nutrients. Chocolate, dairy products, white flour products and gelatin should be avoided until the outbreak has completely healed and the immune system has been strengthened because they contain the amino acid arginine, which is known to accelerate the spread of the virus. Work at reducing stress, which is one of the main triggers of cold sores. Avoid sharing personal items with others such as razors, toothbrushes, drinking glasses, lipstick, and towels. Before heading outdoors, always apply a healthy sunscreen to the lips and face. Lip balm should be used regularly to prevent chapped, dry or cracked lips.

If an outbreak of cold sores occurs, apply and ice pack several times a day to ease pain and help dry the sores. Avoid squeezing and picking scabs or blisters because this may cause them to spread, delay healing time or cause an infection. Witch hazel can be applied to help reduce inflammation and prevent the virus from spreading. Creams containing lemon balm are effective at accelerating healing time. As soon as symptoms first appear the best treatment to prevent an outbreak is lysine. Lysine is an amino acid that when taking internally, prevents the cold sore virus from growing. Topical creams containing lysine can speed healing time but will not prevent an outbreak.

To build the immune system increase intake of fish, potatoes, lima beans, eggs and legumes which are high in lysine. Increasing lysine levels in the body will help reduce the levels of arginine. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and get plenty of rest. Supplements effective at boosting the immune system are vitamin A, C and E and zinc. Vitamin C and E are particularly effective at healing the skin. Essential fatty acids also should be taken to help repair skin. Probiotics should be taken to clear the virus from your system. Remember colds sores are contagious and to always avoid mouth contact with others until healing has occurred.


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    • profile image

      jenny  7 years ago

      i used to get cold sores all the time then i went on a raw diet and haven't had an outbreak since.

    • profile image

      JB Harrison 7 years ago

      great advice! Lysine and yoga regimen works well for me

    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 8 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub. Very helpful and informative.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Thank you. I am passing this one on! My son suffers this every year. Hopefully he will read this and it will help.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I've been lucky not to have them, but my father was always plaqued by them.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Had to put up with these all my life practically, anything that helps ease the problem is welcome indeed.

    • bala99 profile image

      Bala Subrahmanyam Vishnubhotla 8 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

      Lifelong, Painful and maybe Scarring! Thank God I have not got it. I hope I never get it. Thanks steve!

    • profile image

      audrey 8 years ago

      And all along I thought cold sores are caused by weather and climate.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Cold sores are such a nuisance. I find now that I am older that occasionally I get them in and around my nose also.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

      Another great hub SteveMark! Very informative.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 8 years ago

      Thank goodness, this herpes virus has never been a problem for me. Very good information on cause and resolutions…

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Thanks a lot for yet another informative hub :)

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comments everyone!

      Advisor4qb, thanks for the tips. Yogurts that are natural and high in live bacteria culture (probiotics)are great. To really benefit from yogurt, plain white is best. It's best to avoid sugar so stevia makes a great sweetener. Then add some fresh fruit. This is a great way to increase intestinal flora to help rid the body of the virus.

    • advisor4qb profile image

      advisor4qb 8 years ago from On New Footing

      Hi Steve.  For all types of herpes or herpes zoster sores, you can buy Vitamin E Oil in bottles at the drugstore, or you can break open the capsules for a topical application that will ease the pain and speed healing as well.  I have also heard that eating yogurt speeds healing as well. I had a friend with shingles who did this, and it worked.

    • jolinarodriguez profile image

      jolinarodriguez 8 years ago from virgin island US

      Thanks for sharing very informative prevention is better than curing. It is posible that our tongue can be contaminated.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      OMG aren't they the pits. Thanks for the info!

    • tommywong profile image

      tommywong 8 years ago from Malaysia

      hi Steve:

      Thank for info,i will keep that in mind.


    • Steve Rensch profile image

      Steve Rensch 8 years ago

      Thanks. My youngest son has been having this problem. So I passed your article to him.