Cold sores are fairly common and quite uncomfortable. They are essentially blisters that form on and around the lip and under the nose as a result of viral infection. Cold sores typically clear up within two to four weeks and don’t leave any permanent scarring. They are the result of a viral infection called HSV, which is a herpes simplex virus. Luckily cold sores can be prevented vis the following methods:
1. Avoid sharing
The HSV virus is spread through a variety of different contact methods. If you want to avoid contracting the virus and developing cold sores, try to avoid sharing. Things like lip balm, cups, and eating utensils can all catch and spread the virus. It transfers primarily via oral contact, but hand towels should be avoided as well since we often touch our mouth or lips at various points throughout the day.
2. Wash your hands
As stated above, HSV can linger on even mundane surfaces. Sometimes people cough or sneeze, spreading saliva across the environment. Sometimes they touch their mouths and then put their hands on something. If it’s cold or you see a lot of people around with cold sores, wash your hands regularly and try to avoid putting your hands to your mouth.
3. Avoid skin-to-skin contact
Cold sores are blisters and will usually begin to crack and ooze after a time. This is a natural part of the healing process, as the body uses pus to contain and expel bacteria and viruses. However it also helps spread the virus to other hosts. Try to avoid direct contact when cold sores are going around (i.e., kissing, etc.). If you shake hands, wash before eating or drinking anything.
4. Use lip balm
Balms and creams can help keep skin soft and healthy. This avoids irritation and cracks, which can be perfect infection sites for the virus to enter the body. They can also be used to get rid of cold sores, or at least decrease irritation and hasten the healing process. Just try to only use your own lip balm and don’t lend yours out to others.
5. Use cold sore creams
A good cold sore cream can help speed recovery for both cold sores and fever blisters. Cold sore creams soothe the infected and irritated area to prevent further cracking and oozing, while bathing the infection site with antiviral medication. This helps the body fight off the foreign contaminant.
6. Limit stress
Cold sores can often be linked to stress and poor weather conditions. They are not directly related, however both high stress and cold weather may weaken your body’s immune system. Be sure to get enough sleep and consider using vitamin supplements to bolster your immune system during cold and flu seasons.