5 Ways To Treat And Prevent Cold Sores
It's the season for cold sores and you can feel one flaring up. Here's what to do...
You can feel that familiar tingling and a quick look in the mirror confirms your fear: there’s a big, old cold sore plonked right at the top of your lip.
They’re itchy, ugly and take agessss to heal, but what exactly are cold sores and why are some of us burdened with them as soon as the cold weather comes in? “Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are small sores, or blister-like lesions on the face or inside the mouth” says Medical News Today. They’re caused by herpes type one, the non-sexually transmitted version of the virus, but can also be transmitted via sexual contact too.
Why do some of us get ’em and not others? Most of us have the herpes type one virus in our bods but 80% of us have the anti-bodies necessary to fight it off. It’s the unlucky 20% who don’t have these anti-bodies that suffer from the sores.
So, if you’re one of the unlucky few, here are five ways to help prevent a cold sore from flaring up – and heal it up fast if it does.
1. Eat more protein
One of the most common cold sore causes is a lack of protein in the diet. That’s because protein is needed to create antibodies that fight off infection, meaning if you’re low in it you aren’t just more likely to get a cold sore, it’s probably going to stick around for longer too. The obvious fix? Stock up on foods high in protein like chicken, cheese, fish, nuts and eggs, which will help ward off the virus.
2. Stock up on vitamins
As well as upping your protein intake, it’s pretty important to ensure you’re getting all your essential vits and minerals, known for supporting a healthy immune system and deadly at fighting off nasty infections like the oral herpes virus. Aim to eat a nutrient-rich diet (leafy greens are packed full of immune-boosting vitamins) and start your day off with a multi-vitamin like Centrum. It’ll give you that extra boost you need to keep those nasty cold sores away.
Not just ace at calming your mind and creating clarity, meditation is also a key player in warding off cold sores. Why so? It’s all down to stress, which lowers your immune system, and in turn leaves you open to infections. The fix? Set aside a few minutes daily to de-stress and get zen, and you might just lower your chances of getting a nasty flare up. Not sure how to start? Check out our meditation masterclass here.
4. Put it on ice
It may not cure or reduce the duration of the cold sore but it is handy for a quick fix to reduce the inflammation and ease the discomfort of cold sores. All you’ll need is a bag of ice and some patience. A pro tip? Pop on a Compeed Cold Sore patch, €10.99, afterwards. It’ll prevent the virus from spreading and allow the sore to heal without scabbing.
5. Aloe Vera
What problem can’t aloe vera solve, eh? Our trusty aloe has gotten us through many a sun burn and it’s just as reliable when used for cold sores according to recent studies which suggest it deactivates the virus. Dab it onto the sore with a cotton bud (as not to spread the virus) and be sure not to lick it off. Bonus point: the added hydration will stop the sore from cracking.
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