Do you get cold sores? Read this. (Plus a GIVEAWAY).
By Amy Crawford
I am told that up to 80% of the human population is affected by cold sores. What an immense statistic! Whilst we are fortunate enough not to see these nasty buggers on our lips here at THI, I seem to be noticing them appearing on others of late. Why? Well, winter is coming and with cooler temperatures so comes weakened immune systems. Those with cold sore experience will readily tell you - when you are feeling tired, run down or low in energy (and consequently your immunity is low), you are left wide open to a cold sore. It's also the last thing you want and need when you're feeling low.
So, with such an immense number of people (and likely a LOT of you) affected by the HSV-1 virus on a constant basis (there currently is no cure), I thought it time to break down the stigma associated with having a cold sore and provide you with some tips and tricks to prevent and manage your cold sores as winter approaches (if you get them, that is).
(If not you, I'm sure you know someone who does. Why not hit forward and pass this information on).
Know your triggers
1. Stress and Fatigue.
Stress, both physical and mental, wears you and your immune system down. Weakened immune systems mean your defences let their guard down and provide the HSV-1 virus opportunity to strike. Are you over exercising? Are you feeling pressured at work? Are you looking to create a healthy balance in your life? Are you feeling stressed because you have a darn cold sore on your face?!
Stress and the fatigue that results is an issue that I know well. Having recovered from CFS and now adrenal fatigue, I know all about just how important it is to manage this area of your life for the sake of you health. My tip? Incorporate a daily meditation practice into your day.
Women might notice cold sore breakouts during their menstrual periods. This is exactly the time when you should be taking note of everything I have mentioned above AND filling up on the foods I'm about to mention below.
3. Summer sun.
UV rays can trigger a cold sore outbreak. Here it is as simple as staying out of direct sun. So for our northern readers, look to finding a natural sunscreen, or acquiring a floppy hat.. stat.
So, summer is a trigger and now we're telling you winter affects cold sore sufferers too. What a bugger. As we mentioned above, cooler climes leave us wide open to colds and flu which beat our immune systems down. Cold sores flourish when immunity is low, as this allows the HSV-1 virus to take hold. Fear not, we have some immune boosting tips for you below.
No wonder you guys want to pull the doona over your heads! Now I understand why you don't want to go outside into the elements, the weather can really beat you down! Some people find that extreme windy conditions can trigger a cold sore. A good quality natural lip balm and face moisturiser will help you out here.
(Keep scrolling for the give away...)
Cold sore fighting foods
If you are affected by cold sores you really want to focus on a diet high in the amino acid lysine and low in arginine.
Lysine helps to halt the HSV-1 virus in its tracks and by including ample quantities of lysine into your diet you can actually reduce the frequency of a cold sore occurring and/or ensure faster healing.
On the flip side, foods rich in the amino acid arginine can actually provoke a cold sore episode in some people. This is linked to the fact that HSV-1 uses the arginine to grow, replicate and become active.
As such, here is a table of DO versus DO NOT foods, for those of you with cold sores.
|Lysine Rich Foods (EAT MANY)||Arginine Rich Foods (EAT FEW)|
|Vegetables: beets, avocados, tomatoes, sprouts||Seeds, nuts and coconut (coconut oil is ok)|
|Fruits: Mangoes, berries, papaya, apples, pears, figs||Wheat products and oats|
|Dairy: milk, yoghurt, cheese||Chocolate|
|Meats: Chicken, beef, lamb & eggs.||Some protein powders|
|Fish: Sardines and cod||Lentils|
Preventing the spread
No kissing! No touching (yep, life is tough). But seriously, now that 80% of us are affected, education around preventing the spread is pretty important. So here are a few points to take home:
- HSV-1 can be transmitted by skin to skin contact of ANY kind. Also do know that cold sores can appear on places other than your lips. Mums and Dads out there, be sure to not kiss your babies if you feel a cold sore coming on. Raunchy readers out there, no getting frisky if you're feeling a little lip tingly (yes, HSV-1 (aka Herpes) can be transmitted sexually). Just no kissing in general if there is a cold sore in sight, ok?
- But before I go getting all high and mighty about how many of us have contracted HSV-1, I should tell you that cold sores can also spread whenever the virus is active on the skin's surface. A full blown nasty cold sore might not be present but warning signs such as itching, tingling, redness or inflammation may have commenced. HSV-1 can also spread when there are no symptoms and the high risk time for this to happen is just before the symptoms develop and a few days after the cold sore has healed
- Drinks, cutlery, make-up, shavers, cigarettes (I'm turning a blind eye), lip gloss, lip balm, anything that goes near your mouth can all pass on HSV-1. Do not share if you have a cold sore!
Cold sore management
Many of the products on the market are very chemical heavy. They are harsh! Don't get me wrong, maybe you want to douse that bugger in whatever toxic arsenal you can get your hands on (I'd be temped!) However, there is a product that has been formulated by a naturopath and pharmacist that the local Melbourne (and Australian) community has really thrown their weight behind. The Fixalip formulation is rooted in non traditional medicine (do know however that is not 100% naturally certified) and aims for a 2 day turnaround on cold sores (many harsh competitors state between 7-10 days FYI). It's alcohol based which means it dries quickly, so it means you're not walking around with a blob of cream on your face all day. Check out how to fix your lips and purchase this product online here.
I've also found some interesting natural home remedies in my research. The use of coconut oil is quite popular, as is vanilla and milk, though I feel that these ingredients would be soothing rather than "curing". Cold sore sufferers, what are your thoughts on this? Do you have any magic home remedies? This is quite a big issue and one we should develop a discussion around in the comments below. How do you manage your cold sores?
A LIP LOVING GIVEAWAY.
We have 5 Fixalip gift packs to giveaway! Simply tell us in 100 words or less in the comments below how living with the cold sore virus has affected you. Blown off social engagements? Cancelled dates? Skipped work? I'm sure the list goes on. Winners drawn COB Monday May 25, 2015.