Does Exercise Make Cold Sores Worse or Better?

Exercise is an important part of staying fit and healthy, but you’re understandably concerned that the frequency of cold sore increases after a training session. Perhaps you’ve noticed that red fever blisters appear several days after you’ve lifted weights or run on the treadmill? Is exercise the cause?

Exercising helps to improve the flow of oxygenated blood and this, in turn, keeps your vital organs working optimally. Unfortunately, training can also be physically exhausting, especially after a hard day’s work or limited sleep. You likely already know that tiredness, fatigue, sickness, and feeling run down are some of the most common triggers of cold sores.

You also realize that handling training equipment (that may have been touched by someone with an open cold sore) is a further risk that requires mitigation. It forces you to question whether the health advantages of exercise outweigh the disadvantages, but there’s no need to be concerned.

We will explain why you should continue to exercise regularly and provide ways to reduce the chances of an outbreak occurring. We’ll also recommend an over-the-counter cold sore treatment that will dramatically shorten the healing time so that you can recover much faster.

Should I Exercise with a Cold Sore?

While certain actions should be discouraged if you have a cold sore, exercise is not one of them. Training is a healthy practice, and good health can help to naturally heal cold sores.

Although fatigue and general sickness can cause cold sores, exercise is positive. The minor issues caused by intense exercise are good for your body. As long as you pace yourself and stay hydrated, you should be okay.

Various fitness classes can help to improve your physical standing and increase immune health. Having a strong body and immune system will likely make your cold sores better, not worse. It is important to listen to your body and strike the right balance.

One of the few ways that exercise could make a cold sore worse would involve a locker room setting. Sharing a towel or water bottle with an exercise partner, for example, could potentially lead to a primary HSV-1 infection or recurrent cold sores.

4 Facts about Exercising & Cold Sores

  1. Provided that you aren’t already sick or exhausted, general exercise does NOT make cold sore worse or cause HSV-1.
  2. Exercise is good for your body and your immune system. You will likely heal faster and avoid infection due to increased blood flow. The stronger you are, the more easily your body can fend off viruses, bacteria, and disease.
  3. Sharing of accessories and touching gym equipment has the potential to cause cold sores to form. Try to avoid touching your mouth or face after gripping exercise equipment, and never share towels with a training partner.
  4. If you fail to drink an adequate amount of water, your body will become dehydrated. This can lead to cracking of the lips, which provides an entry point for HSV-1. Stay hydrated and consider applying a healing lip balm, such as Herpecin.

Can You Get Cold Sores from Exercise Machines at the Gym?

Although the physical act of exercising will not make a cold sore worse, certain actions can cause a cold sore. This is especially true if you handle equipment during your routine.

If you are changing exercise machines, handling weights, and touching benches, you could be at risk. Similar to the note above regarding towels and drink sharing, you need to be mindful.

Although dormant until triggered, HSV-1 is constant. Just the simple act of touching a weight that has been handled by an infected individual can be harmful. This is most notable if you are older and perhaps more susceptible to the virus.

While there is no need to live in fear, you must treat the gym like any other public setting. You can still receive a quality workout while also being cautious of your surroundings.

Hints & Tips for Avoiding Cold Sores

  • Hygiene is critical. If you carry a gym bag, add a small bottle of hand sanitizer to the fold. If you have handled equipment, then sterilize your hands. This is vital because you cannot wash your hands after every set of weights.
  • Avoid touching your face. You need to be conscious of your actions because touching your mouth area is the easiest way to spread HSV-1.
  • Take extra precautions based on your personal history. Are you currently under the weather with a minor illness? Have you been working hard and feel exhausted? Did you sleep poorly last night? If you answered “yes” to those questions, you might wish to take a break and train on a day when you’re feeling closer to 100%.

Can Sweat Cause Cold Sores?

While exercise can be vigorous and sweat producing, sweating heavily does not cause cold sores. At present, there is no factual evidence to confirm that it does anyway.

Dehydration can play a role. You are more likely to get a cold sore from dehydration than from sweat activating HSV-1. Because lack of fluids can cause cracked lips, HSV-1 can invade that region of the body.

Frequency of Cold Sores during Exercise As We Get Older

Can age play a factor as it relates to cold sores and exercise? Yes. This is especially true for the middle-aged and seniors.

The human body doesn’t work quite as effectively as we age. While maintaining good health is important, we have to be aware of our limitations. Although certain changes are more noticeable than others, even subtle changes can leave the door open for cold sores.

Listed below are a few common issues that older people could face:

  • Vitamin deficiency. Seniors often struggle with vitamin intake, especially vitamins D, and B12. Cold sores prey on weakened immune health. Exercise could be quite taxing for an older adult.
  • The longer the life, the longer the exposure. Is there a price to pay for staying alive? As it relates to HSV-1, the answer could be yes. Cold sores have the potential to develop much later in life due to the body giving in to the virus. The older you are, the more natural exposure you will have.
  • Hormonal changes. Swings in hormones can promote cold sores. This is especially true in the case of middle-aged men and women.
  • While stress is a known cold sore trigger, regardless of age, stress can change as you age. Major life changes can impact your immune health. Some life issues are unique to older adults. These issues can promote stress and harm to the body.

Cold sores after an exercise session at the gym

Cold Sore Treatment Following & during Training Sessions

While there is no cure for cold sores or guaranteed method of prevention, the good news is that it is possible to reduce the number of outbreaks. The use of over-the-counter cold sore medicines can also dramatically reduce your pain and healing time from weeks to just a few days!

The sooner that you treat a cold sore, the more quickly it can be cleared up. Creams, such as HERP-B-GONE, prevent the virus from multiplying. Consequently, outbreaks tend to be less severe and the tell-tale symptoms far less noticeable.

Perhaps you already have a cold sore and need a quick cover up? The best thing that you can use in this situation is the Compeed Cold Sore Patch. The fever blister will not only be difficult to detect when you’re out in public, but the sore will also be medicated for up to 12 hours.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle & Reducing the Risk of Cold Sores

Everything that we do carries some degree of risk. Unless you wrap yourself in a protective bubble or never leave your home, you will always be open to germs, viruses, and bacteria. The best thing to do is continue living an active and healthy lifestyle while taking sensible precautions.

If you do notice a tingling sensation on the lip, apply a fast-acting treatment without delay. While it’s unlikely to prevent a cold sore, your experience will be much easier to tolerate. You’ll endure less pain, and the symptoms won’t be nearly as visible to the staring glances of strangers.

Exercising is good for your health. Just avoid training when you’re sick, tired, and run down. Wash or sterilize your hands and try to avoid touching your face or mouth after using machines at the gym or shaking people’s hands. These simple precautions will enable you to enjoy the benefits of exercise with a much-reduced risk of getting cold sores.