Cold sores, also known as fever blisters or oral herpes, are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). They are highly contagious, and they usually recur in the same location. This article highlights the tips to prevent cold sores.
Cold sores can appear as a single blister or in a cluster, mostly around the conspicuous parts of the body, giving a tingling or itching sensation and is painful at times. They infect the skin’s epidermis layer, resulting in fluid-filled red blisters. Nose, mouth, lips, cheeks, eyelids, and fingers are the commonly infected areas. According to some studies, 50-80% of the world population carries the herpes simplex virus, but surprisingly, a few of them experience the outbreak of the virus, which results in cold sores.
Stress, sleep disorders, menstruation, exposure to ultra-violet rays of the sunlight, dry or injured lips, tooth extraction, digestive disorders, common cold, flu, etc., are some of the reasons that may trigger the virus, which otherwise may remain dormant for years. Medical science has not been able to come up with any solid cure for this condition. Once the virus has infected the person, there is no way to eliminate it. However, if proper preventive steps are followed regularly, occurrence of cold sores can be inhibited, and the frequency of the outbreaks can also be curbed.
Inculcate proper hygiene habits. As the HSV-1 is highly contagious, avoid coming in contact with infected body fluids or the infected person, and avoid sharing the same items like clothes, utensils, etc. Always keep yourself clean, especially your hands. Always use antibacterial hand wash because humans have a natural tendency to touch their mouth or face frequently. The infected people should also follow the aforementioned hygienic procedures. Keeping your hands clean will prevent the sores from spreading to other parts of the body.
Get plenty of sleep, at least for eight hours a day. Perform stress relief exercises such as yoga, meditation, etc. Proper sleep and relaxation helps reduce fatigue and relax your body, which ultimately prevents the chances of cold sore outbreaks.
Dry chapped lips are also one of the contributing factors. So, keeping your lips and skin well moisturized will make you less vulnerable to the infection. Also, keep your skin safe from the sunlight (specifically UV rays) by using sunblock creams or ointments.
A nutritious and healthy diet helps strengthen and improve your body’s immune system and to resist the infection of the herpes virus. Including high quantity of lysine (an essential amino acid) in your diet, limits herpes replication or reproduction. According to some studies, higher percentage of lysine content in the diet, curbs the availability of cells required for the replication. Food products with high lysine content are beef, fish, chicken, milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. Fruits such as apples, pears, mangoes, apricots, and summer squash also contain immense quantity of lysine. Medicines which contain lysine are also useful in preventing any cold sore outbreaks.
The sores may appear during times like outings, vacations, traveling, etc. A weak and ailing person is the perfect breeding ground for the herpes virus. The outbreak of the sores varies from person to person. Some might have frequent outbreaks, while for others, it may be very rare. After attacking the immune system, the virus may remain dormant for a considerable period of time and then suddenly become active when triggered by stress and other disorders. The doctors may prescribe certain antiviral medications which can help in a speedy recovery.
Treatment at an early stage of the sore will minimize the risk of worsening the condition. A healthy lifestyle and surrounding can prevent the virus from spreading further in the infected person and to others as well.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.