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The 101 on Cold Sores

Dealing with cold sores is not on anyone’s favorite-things-to-do list, but there are simple ways to treat and prevent them.

smile_woman_hand_covering_mouth_picNot only can cold sores be unappealing to the eye and embarrassing, but they also are quite uncomfortable, if not painful! Handling cold sores can be difficult and frustrating, especially since this viral condition can reoccur frequently. Understanding how to combat these unpleasant sores is a priority for those who are commonly plagued with them. Here, we will discuss cold sores and how to treat and prevent them from happening.

Technically, cold sores are inflamed blisters that typically manifest around the mouth area. These sores are caused by a herpes virus infection. Interestingly, people can have the herpes virus without actually experiencing or breaking out in cold sores. So why do some people get cold sores?

While there are multiple ways to come down with a cold sore, there are a few ways that are more common than others. If you kiss someone who has a cold sore, the physical exposure can lead to you getting the herpes virus that can cause cold sores. Similarly, you can contract the virus and therefore experience a cold sore by sharing drinks, utensils, lip balm, or any other food or item that has touch a contaminated person’s mouth. You must also be careful touching something after a contaminated person has handled it, because if their hands have been in contact with their mouth or sores, you can then become contaminated as well.

You can prevent becoming contaminated with the herpes virus by not sharing drinks, lip balms, and utensils, by frequently washing your hands, and by making sure to do things to keep a strong immune system (healthy eating, adequate exercise, good sleep, stress reduction).

chapstick_woman_mirror_shower_picOnce a person has become contaminated by the herpes virus, they end up with a lifelong infection that can be triggered and cause a cold sore by various ways.

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Too many stimulants (coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc)
  • Anxiety
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Fever
  • A weakened immune system
  • Taking immune suppressing drugs
  • Allergies
  • Other viral infections like the common cold or flu

People with the herpes virus can have random, or sporadic, cold sore outbreaks. This is because the triggering of the virus is strongly affected by the state of your immunity and your body’s ability to handle stress at that time.

Obviously, preventing a cold sore is better than having to treat one, but, once a cold sore has developed, there are some natural ways to treat it.

  • woman_mought_lips_pursed_picDecrease the amount of stress in your life and take the time to relax a bit each day. Activities such as baths, walks, exercise, meditation, or other such activities are great ways to decrease stress
  • Eat foods that are high in lysine such as high quality dairy, fish, eggs, and certain fruits
  • Support the immune system by eating highly nourishing foods and eliminating toxic, processed foods
  • High quality supplements such as lysine, vitamin D-3, and B complex can help treat an existing cold sore

Herbs can be a great way of treating a cold sore; some of the best ones for cold sore treatment include:

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Lemon Balm
  • Licorice Root
  • Aloe
  • Garlic
  • Echinacea
  • Holy Basil
  • Rhodiola
  • Comfrey (topically)
  • Calendula (topically)
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Manuka honey

Once a cold sore has formed, it isn’t typically an over-night fix. However, focusing on cleaning up the diet, de-stressing, and supplementing properly will surely help to efficiently heal up the cold sore and help bolster the immune system to help prevent further outbreaks.

Check out other natural ways to handle cold sores!

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