- Oral Health
Herpes Cold Sores Symptom: Dry Lips, HS Virus And More
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.