Let’s face it – no one wants to get a cold sore. But, sometimes they can seem unavoidable. There are those who seem to just be more ‘prone’ to outbreaks. This can be frustrating, since it means dealing with a lengthy treatment time.
When you’ve got a cold sore on your face, even a few days of treatment can feel like years. So, what’s the answer to the problem? The best thing that you can try to do is to stop a cold sore before it starts by understanding your body better.
For a cold sore, there are no prevention methods that are 100% secure. Sometimes, you can do all the right things, and still go through outbreaks now and then. But, give the following tips a try. By utilizing them every day, you can greatly reduce the risk of getting a cold sore.
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Best Ways to Stop a Cold Sore Before It Starts
They are not an STD, but cold sores are technically considered to be the herpes virus. This means the virus will always be in your system once it’s contracted. However, it is dormant most of the time, stored in a nerve by your ear.
Life itself can sometimes seem to be what ‘stirs it up.’ But, there are a few key factors that can work as triggers for cold sores. When your body’s immune system is compromised in any way, the virus has a chance to show itself. With that in mind, consider the following prevention methods:
Reduce Your Stress
Stress can play a huge part in a cold sore outbreak. Not only does it wreak havoc on our emotions, but it can affect us physically, too. Most people don’t think stress has any sort of physical pull over our bodies. But, research has shown that it can cause us to become lethargic, fatigued, and even physically sick.
Our immune system has to fight back against all of these things, leaving an opening for the virus to sneak in. Try to reduce your overall stress levels, if possible. Or, practice stress-relieving techniques, like deep breathing.
If you find yourself overly-stressed, search for something to alleviate it. Things like yoga or meditation can be great options. But, anything you enjoy doing that can provide a sense of calmness can help.
Get Enough Rest
Your body can’t fight back against anything (including cold sores) unless it is properly rested and healed. As a whole, our society is getting less sleep than ever before. We’re also busier than ever before. Our hectic schedules can wear us down day after day.
Without the proper amount of sleep to reenergize and recharge, we’re compromising our immune systems, and so many other vital organs, muscles, etc. The more sleep you get, the more your body will be prepared for.
Vitamin C & E
It’s always a good idea to take a multivitamin when it comes to managing your overall health. But, in order to keep your immune system boosted, Vitamin C & E are your best sources. They help to boost your body’s white blood cells. Those are the cells that fight back against illnesses and viruses.
Vitamin E can even be topically applied, should a cold sore appear. It can help to reduce pain and discomfort. But, by getting enough of these two vitamins in your every day diet, hopefully you won’t have to worry about any topical solutions.
You can either choose to ingest these vitamins through capsules, or introduce more foods with them. Vitamin C can be found in things like berries, broccoli, and tomatoes. Vitamin E can be found in foods like nuts and avocados.
Wash Your Hands
This might be the most important ‘tip’ of all. Washing your hands multiple times a day is extremely important to help prevent cold sores. We don’t often realize how many germs we touch in a day. Unfortunately, we also touch our faces just as many times. It’s not hard to contract harmful germs. Those germs, in turn, can make us sick. When we’re sick, again, our immune systems are weakened, and again – a cold sore outbreak can occur.
It may not be enough to just wash your hands before meals or after you use the restroom, etc. It should become a habit as much as possible, whenever possible.
Moisturize with Aloe Vera
Try using a gel or lip balm that contains aloe vera. Aloe helps to fight off bacteria that can allow cold sores to burst. If you have existing cold sores, it can also help to soothe them, and help them to heal faster.
Moisturizing in general will also be a big benefit. Cold sores are more prone to appear on dry skin. This is why they’re typically more prominent in cold, dry air. By keeping your lips and skin moisturized, you’re creating a harsher environment for them to appear.
Over the Counter Medicated Creams
These creams, ointments, and gels, are some of the most popular choices in clearing up cold sores. There are multiple products to choose from on the market. Most will come in a small container, just like lemon lip balm. These products work by penetrating the skin. They block the virus from reaching the surface of the skin. So, your cold sore will heal faster without the continuation of the virus giving it ‘strength.’
Because many of these products do come in gel form, they also work really well as moisturizers. Moisturization is a key in stopping a cold sore. Many people experience flare ups during colder, harsh weather. The air is typically extremely dry when it’s cold out, which can cause cold sores to crack and bleed. No matter what time of year it is, though, it’s important to keep them moisturized. Not only will it provide a sense of comfort and pain relief, but it will keep them from cracking, so they can heal faster.
These over the counter medicated creams can certainly help to moisturize and keep your mouth protected. However, you don’t have to wait until you have a cold sore to start moisturizing. A general medicated lip balm, or a balm with mint or lemon can work as a great preventative measure you can use all the time.
Prevention is Better Than the Cure
Unfortunately, there will never be a true way to get rid of cold sores. At least not until there is a cure for the herpes virus. But, it doesn’t mean the world has to stop if you experience an outbreak. You can usually keep these outbreaks under control by using the right precautions and preventative measures. The tips are a great place to begin.
If you do experience a cold sore, you can continue to use the above steps to help treat it. Cold sores shouldn’t last very long. Typically, they’ll go away with the right kind of care in several days. While they can be unsightly and even painful at times, the preventative measures you took beforehand can help to make them less severe. Practice them daily, whether you already have a cold sore, or you’re just trying to stop one before it starts.