Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus, specifically strain 1. This virus is contracted from skin to skin contact or from someone with the virus who has directly touched something that will be shared with others. Once contracted, the virus will remain in the nerve sheath of your mouth or affected area and cannot be cured. Not everyone suffers cold sores at the same frequency, but they can be activated from time to time and appear occasionally.
Yet cures cold sores and fever blisters can be prevented by utilizing a few health conscious tips:
1. Cold sore creams
One way to help get rid of cold sores faster is through using a good cold sore cream. Find a cold sore cream that has Lysine or antiviral properties. Both of these elements can help potentially reduce the life cycle of a cold sore outbreak if used properly. This typically means that cold sore creams are most effective when used at the first sign of a cold sore on the lips. If you wait a long period of time after seeing the first sign of a cold sore, the cream likely will not work as well.
2. Avoid sharing
Avoid sharing drinks or other items with those who have a cold sore. This is an effective way to avoid contracting the virus in the first place, and also prevents another outbreak for those who may already have the virus.
3. Lip balm with sun protection
Use a lip balm with sunscreen to prevent cold sores from appearing after long exposure to the sun. Sunlight is known to be a cold sore or herpes outbreak trigger, so it’s recommended that you stay protected from the sun as much as possible to avoid them. Using a lip balm that has sunscreen in the formula can help in preventing these outbreaks during hot summer months.
4. Limit stress
Another way to help prevent a cold sore outbreak is to avoid stress as much as possible. Stress can lower the immune system, which in turn reduces your body’s defences, allowing the virus to attack. This is also why cold sores are commonly known as fever blisters because they can often appear when you are sick or ill.
5. Avoid cold or flu exposure
Try to avoid catching colds or the flu, which can trigger cold sores. Maintaining a healthy routine of drinking lots of water each day, eating healthy and nutritious foods to aid in a strong immune system, and exercising are great ways to prevent illness and by proxy avoiding cold sores.
Prescription pills from your doctor can also help in treating a breakout faster much like a cold sore cream will. While there is nothing that can cure it, your doctor might be able to prescribe you medication that can help make the virus more manageable.
Keep in mind that cold sores affect millions of people, and is more common than you would think. This is why you should ensure to practice clean habits to prevent further spreading of this virus. Often times viruses are passed on through door handles, bathroom stalls, glasses, silverware, etc. So to help protect yourself, make sure to watch your hands after using the restroom, and using a paper towel or a piece of toilet paper to turn the faucets on and off. Also use a piece of paper to open and close the bathroom doors as you never know who has or hasn’t washed their hands or if they currently have a cold sore, cold, or the flu.