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How To Prevent And Treat Cold Sores

Updated on April 21, 2012

Do you get cold sores regularly?

You know that the familiar tingling and itchy feeling you get before it appears means a painful, ugly blister on your face for a week to ten days. There are things you can do to decrease the occurrence of a cold sore. This hub will give you tips on how to prevent and treat cold sores.

Preventing the spread of these nasty cold sores is important. You don't want to expose your family to the discomfort and pain of a cold sore. They are very contagious. So no kissing! Also be sure to disinfect all cups and cutlery the person with the virus has used. Use bleach when washing dishes or use the dishwasher.

But how do you get cold sores in the first place?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simples virus. Once you have been exposed to it you will have it for the rest of your life. It may present itself at different times, usually during times of illness or stress.

In fact stress is a major cause of cold sores. Not stress itself, but how you deal with it. If you run into a problem, instead of freaking out, try to lower your stress level. Having friends and family you can lean on, practicing meditation and relaxation, and exercising are all positive ways to combat stress and reduce its negative effects. This will reduce the occurrence of cold sores.

Exposure to sunshine can trigger the virus. Be sure to use sunscreen on your face and lips everyday. And limit the time you spend out in the sun in the summertime, especially between 10-4, when the sun is at it's hottest.

Cold sores can pop up if you have been sick with a cold or flu because your immune system has been run down.

And some women experience outbreaks a week before they get their period. Take steps to reduce PMS symptoms by watching your diet and getting enough rest if you need it during this time.

Preventitive Diet

Did you know that your diet could be causing your cold sores? It can help to improve your eating habits. Sugar intake must be reduced to prevent the herpes simplex virus form rearing its ugly head.

Reducing arginine rich foods and from your diet is the key. The herpes virus needs this amino acid for its metabolism. Arginine is found in chocolate, nuts, corn, wheat products and alcohol. Lysine inhibits the herpes virus by blocking arginine. Eat lysine rich foods like poultry, eggs, meat, potatoes, fish, beans and eggs. You can also take lysine supplements: 500mg three times a day at the first sign of a cold sore.

Vitamin C speeds up the healing of cold sores. Strawberries, citrus fruits, peppers, kiwis and mangoes are excellent sources. Zinc lozenges will boost your immune system to fight off the virus.

Herbal Help

The herb melissa, or lemon balm has been shown to have antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus. Drink the tea for its antiviral properties. Or use lemon balm cream to ease cold sore symptoms, reduce the size of the outbreak and help to heal it faster.

Garlic has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Load up on garlic in times of stress to prevent a cold sore outbreak. Or use it from the first sign of an outbreak until it is healed. You can buy garlic in odor free capsules.

Strengthen your immune system with antiviral herbs like echinacea and astragalus.

Medicinal Help

Abreva is the only cold sore cream proven to shorten the healing time of a cold sore. Applied at that first tingle, it will keep the virus from spreading into other cells so your sore will stay small and heal faster.

How it works

I also find Blistex to be helpful. They have a variety with sunscreen for everyday use to prevent cold sores in the first place. Use the medicated lip ointment to relieve the pain and itchiness of your cold sore and to help it dry out and fall off faster.

And finally you can go to your doctor and get a prescription. There is a prescription cream called Zovirax which works to shorten duration of the cold sore. It will prevent an outbreak altogether if it is applied at the very first sign. There is also a prescription drugs called Valtrex. These medications have been proven to work but they are the most expensive remedies.


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    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 5 years ago from Canada

      You are welcome, hyphenbird. I appreciate your comments.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I get these sores when in the sun or stressed so your information is right on. I will try your ideas and thank you for the help.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

      I am glad you found it useful, chris.

    • profile image

      Chris McGowan 6 years ago

      I get cold sores all the time and this was very useful. I've just got a new excuse to eat as many eggs as I please :)