Cold Sores can cause embarrassing outbreaks that last for weeks. They can be precipitated by pain at the site of the sore, as well as a swelling of your glands, a sign that your immune system is fighting infection. There are treatments available that cut down the life of the sore by a couple of days, or that relieve pain, but nothing that cures you of carrying the virus and having recurring outbreaks.
To reduce the frequency of occurrences of outbreaks of Cold Sores, as well as the duration and severity, here are a number of helpful tips:
- Colds and the Flu can trigger outbreaks, so take extra precaution to prevent catching either. Wash your hands frequently, support your immune system by making sure you eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables (and/or supplement with a multi-vitamin that contains the variety of vitamins and minerals you need on a daily basis), and make sure to watch for signs you may have caught the cold or flu so that you can slow down and redirect your energy to healing.
- Stress and hormonal changes can trigger outbreaks. Try to take special care to avoid stress by dealing with problems right away, setting time for yourself, and taking time daily to relax and breathe deep. If hormonal changes are causing regular outbreaks, such as menstruation, talk to your doctor about your options.
- UV radiation can trigger sore outbreaks, so wear sunscreen and chapstick when you go out, and avoid tanning beds.
Remember, even when you do not have an outbreak of Cold Sores you are still contagious. Make sure to wash your hands frequently, and do not put them in your mouth (if you have to, wash your hands afterwards). When you do have a Cold Sore outbreak, and for a few days after, be extra careful not to spread the virus to other parts of your body or to other people. Saliva, transmitted through kissing or a shared glass/toothbrush/whatever, can transmit the virus. See your doctor if you think the infection has spread to other parts of your body.