Cold sores appear on parts of the face because of the HSV-1 virus. It’s a form of the herpes virus, though has no connection to genital herpes. What’s the bad news? About 90% of adults have this virus. It can be contracted at any time, even from childhood.
The good news is, for the most part, it remains dormant in our bodies and doesn’t cause any problems. Some people suffer with them more than others. So, how can you prevent cold sores from happening? Is it even possible to prevent cold sores?
If you already have this virus in you, it’s never 100% possible to prevent cold sores forever. There is a good chance you’ll experience a flare up here and there throughout your life. However, there are plenty of preventative measures you can put into practice. These precautions will help to reduce your risk of a cold sore flare up.
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Though sometimes cold sore flare-ups seem to ‘just happen,’ there is usually some reason behind them. Making a few simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference. When it comes down to it, it all has to do with your immune system, and how your body responds to an attacking virus.
Stress can play a key factor in cold sore flare-ups. It fatigues us, both emotionally and physically. Think about the last time you were in a stressful situation. Chances are, you felt exhausted, and just wanted to sleep. While your body’s response may have been a deep desire to rest and repair, it’s a great opportunity for a cold sore to appear. Your immune system gets ‘busy,’ trying to fight off the effects of fatigue.
When that happens, it can become compromised. It’s not fully able to fight off other ‘problems’ within the body efficiently. So, it’s a perfect time for a cold sore flare up. While it may be impossible to completely remove stress from your life, taking measures to reduce it can be important. Simply finding something that provides you a bit of tranquility in life can make a big difference. Or, something that focuses specifically on reducing stress, like yoga or meditation, are also great options.
Of course, ‘staying healthy’ can feel a bit relative, since it’s not always something that’s in our control. But, taking as many precautionary measures as possible to stay healthy is something we can do. This covers a whole spectrum of things.
From washing your hands frequently to eating a healthy diet, and even exercising regularly. The idea is to have a strong, efficient immune system. The stronger your immune system is, the better it will fight off the HSV-1 virus from causing a cold sore flare up. It’s important to take care of your body for many reasons, but this certainly adds another one to the list. Better health truly starts from the inside out.
Fatigue can come from many different aspects of life (including stress and sickness). But, sometimes we simply don’t get enough sleep. With crazy schedules, working longer hours, and endless activities, it’s not uncommon for most people to get less than seven hours of sleep each night. This sets your body up for disaster. Not getting enough sleep can also compromise your immune system.
Your body needs time not onto to recharge, but to repair itself from the day. Nothing does this like a good night’s sleep. Without it, your body can become weaker, and more susceptible to things like cold sore flare-ups.
Cold sores can often show up during extreme types of weather. A hot, blistering sun can cause them to show up. Or, dry, bitterly cold temperatures can cause a flare up. It’s important to protect yourself – especially your lips, from these elements. If you’re prone to cold sores, this is especially effective.
In the hot summer months, protect your mouth with a lip balm. This balm should have a high level of SPF protection. You wouldn’t go outside in the summer without sunscreen. Protecting your lips shouldn’t be any different.
In months with cold, dry air, it’s equally important to apply some balm. However, a lip cream or gel with moisturizing properties is more important here. Cold sores have the tendency to blister, crack, and burst open. So, before you even get one, ensure that it wouldn’t be a problem if you did. Moisture is a cold sore’s worst enemy once it shows up. Moisturizing around your mouth can help with the prevention process, as well. It will also protect your lips from the cold, harsh climate.
One of the most obvious solutions in preventing cold sores is to steer clear of someone who has them. Try to avoid skin on skin contact with anyone who has an obvious open sore. This is how cold sores and the HSV-1 virus are contracted in the first place. Whether you already have the virus or not, touching someone’s infected skin, kissing, etc., can pass the flare up onto you. Staying away from this type of exposure is extremely important, as it’s one of the quickest ways to get a cold sore.
No one wants to experience a cold sore flare up. They can be painful, and embarrassing. While there are plenty of treatment options to consider, not getting a cold sore in the first place is always the better option. Keep these preventative measures in mind. Whether you’re more prone to cold sores or not, they can help to reduce the risk of a flare-up.
Preventing a cold sore before it starts means you won’t have to worry about any of that pain and embarrassment. With just a few simple lifestyle adjustments and the right protection, you can fight back before the HSV-1 virus gets the best of you.