As much as I wish I didn't get them, and feel like my life is over the moment I know I'm getting one (seriously), there is simply nothing I can do about the fact that the virus will forever lie dormant in my system. However, I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to prevent them from coming, or to at the very least, reduce their severity and get rid of them faster, which is always the first thing that comes to mind.
Also known as fever blisters, these common, small little annoying and unsightly outbreaks on the lip area are probably one of the worst things one should have to deal with, in my humble opinion. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) that lies inactive in nerve cells until one of many triggers cause it to become active again (HSV-1 is not to be confused with HSV-2, which is sexually transmitted). Triggers include:
- stress, anxiety
- compromised immune system
- general illness (cold, flu, etc.)
- excessive sun exposure
- trauma to affected area
I know for myself, if I'm really emotionally stressed or if my anxiety is particularly heightened, I tend to be more prone to getting one. Not fun. It's important to remember that a weakened immune system plays a huge role, too. Supporting these things are truly of primary importance.
Some things to consider for prevention include the herbs ashwagandha or rhodiola for some nourishing, adaptogenic, anti-stress support. Magnesium is my favourite mineral and is very calming and anti-stress. Meditation and yoga are always good, too. Support your immune system with things like vitamin C, zinc, and avoiding dairy and sugar.
Stages of a Cold Sore:
The stages of a cold sore suck. They just suck. The first stage involves the infamous tingle followed by redness and the inevitable fate. The second stage involves the dreaded blister, and for me personally, an insanely swollen lip. This stage is particularly uncomfortable, itchy, sometimes painful, embarrassing, and just overall bad and sucks a lot. It lasts about 1-2 days. The third and final stage is the friendly ol' scab at which point it becomes very tolerable and free of swelling. For me this begins on the third day and lasts for about 4-5 days, with the total duration of about a week or so.
My Absolute Essentials for Warding off Cold Sores:
Lysine: I cannot stress enough the importance of taking the amino acid Lysine internally. I take it as a supplement, at least 3,000mg per day. Sometimes I'll pop a few more. Lysine definitely makes a huge difference in the duration and severity of the cold sores I experience.
Lysine works by essentially blocking arginine. HSV requires arginine to replicate and arginine itself is suggested to stimulate replication of the virus. In this way it's vital to avoid foods high in arginine (chocolate, peanuts, almonds and other nuts and seeds) and eat loads of foods high in lysine (vegetables, legumes, fish, turkey, chicken).
Ointment: Topically I love to use a lysine cream called Super Lysine+. It's a blend of zinc oxide, lysine, echinacea, propolis, goldenseal and a few other ingredients that I find really aid healing and reducing duration.
Supplemental lysine and the lysine cream are pretty much the top two items I find are most important, but additionally I like to use a few other soothing creams to aid healing and cellular repair:
Aloe blend: This time around I used a skin gel called Nature's Aid, which is a blend of aloe vera, tea tree oil, witch hazel, rosemary and vitamin e. It is so soothing and has literally dozens of uses for the skin. It's antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.
Oil of Oregano: This is one of those things that everyone should have on hand, for a whole variety of first aid uses. It's extremely antibacterial, antiviral, and actually a natural antibiotic. You can apply a drop or two directly onto the area.
Vitamin E oil: I use vitamin e oil to remove makeup and to moisturize my eye area lightly, but I find it's also nice to use around the cold sore area just to add a bit of moisture as it can get a bit uncomfortable, usually from drying the crap out of it. I take a cotton swab and dab it on where needed.
Arnica Montana: I thought I'd throw this one in for good measure. If you dig homeopathics, then I highly suggest the use of arnica. Arnica is used for injuries, inflammation, bruising, pain, and is a great way to ease pain that may be present. A few pellets taken internally throughout the day will suffice.
That's it for what I wanted to share today, I do hope this helps!