Take Control with Real Medicine
Ouch! Ifs that time of the year again when you're most prone to getting a cold sore. That's because wind and cold temperature can damage your lips, leaving them dry and cracked, just the kind o| condition on which cold sores thrive. But wind and cold are not your only triggers for cold sores. Here are some facts on the condition and tips on what you can do to relieve the symptoms and get rid of your cold sore faster.
Learn the FACTS
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Once contracted, this virus remains hidden in our bodies in a dormant state until it's triggered to reactivate and cause a cold sore. A cold sore outbreak goes through several stages, from the first tingle to the forming of a blister, then an ulcer and finally a scab is formed before it is healed. This usually takes 7-10 days. A cold sore is highly contagious for a few days from the moment the blister forms, particularly when it "weeps," and after it bursts and becomes an ulcer until the scab is formed.
Know the TRIGGERS
Besides the wind and cold temperatures, there are a number of every day events that can reactivate the cold sore virus. Such trigger factors include ultra violet (UV) light from sunshine or sun beds, emotional stress or exhaustion, common cold, flu or feverish illness, feeling physically low or fatigued, leading to a weakened immune system, menstruation, pregnancy, an injury to the mouth or a knock on the face or lips.
At the First Sign, TREAT Your Cold Sore with a Real Medicine
As soon as you feel a cold sore coming on, head to the pharmacy. Your pharmacist will more than likely recommend that you treat your cold sore with the only FDA approved, non-prescription medicine that actually shortens the healing time for cold sores. This medicine is called Abreva. It's a cream containing an active ingredient called Docosonal. Most effective when used early, you should apply Abreva as soon as you feel the cold sore coming on, and use it five times a day until the cold sore is healed. Abreva speeds healing and cuts healing time in half on average versus untreated outbreaks. It works by preventing the cold sore virus from invading healthy cells. (1) With clinical studies to support that it really works, Abreva is the number one pharmacist recommended brand. (2)
Cover and protect your face and mouth with both moisturizers and a scarf when temperatures drop. Watch out for conditions that can cause dryness, such as your home furnace and hot showers or baths. Use gentle, extra moisturizing cleansers and hydrating masks to keep your skin moist and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. But just because it's winter doesn't mean that you can't get too much exposure to sun. Use a high protection factor sunscreen, including on the lips, to block UV light when you go outdoors or if you use a sun bed. And take time to de-stress at holiday time. Find time for some yoga, a nature walk, a power nap, and some healthy meals. Some nutrilionists have suggested that diet may affect the severity and frequency of cold sores. The holiday time is when you will have many opportunities to celebrate with foods rich in the amino acid, arginine, which the cold sore virus needs for its metabolism. Some of the foods rich in this amino acid are chocolate, cola, peas, peanuts, cashews and beer. So if you're prone to cold sores, limit your intake of these foods.
Your holidays don't have to be spoiled by a cold sore. Celebrate!
COPYRIGHT 2002 Meredith Corporation