Many Ways to Bust Blisters
Cold sores are painful, itchy, inflamed clusters of blisters that typically appear on the edges of the lips or around the nose. They are caused by a version of the herpes virus. Once a person has the virus, it hibernates in the body, occasionally becoming active and producing a cold sore. There is no way to cure the virus completely or to guarantee that you will never have another cold sore. However, there are ways to make cold sores heal faster and decrease the number of outbreaks you have. Some people who have frequent cold sores or repeated outbreaks of multiple cold sores opt to take an antiviral prescription medication. For those seeking other ways to manage cold sores, there are several options.
Put Amino Acids into Action
The amino acid lysine is a potent weapon against cold sores. Lysine interferes with the action of the virus in the cells of the body, so it is both a preventive and a treatment for cold sores. Lysine is available as a dietary supplement in tablets and capsules in the vitamin and supplement section of most grocery stores. This amino acid is effective against the cold sore virus only if taken in daily doses of more than 1250 mg. Begin taking it at the first sign that a cold sore is coming on; you'll probably feel an itchy, tingling in the location where it will appear. Lysine reduces the severity of the outbreak, diminishes the pain and itch of the cold sore and speeds the healing process.
Just Your Cup of Tea
Wet a tea bag in enough cold water to soak it through and apply it like a compress to the cold sore. Chemicals called tannins that occur in tea slow the activity of the virus, and the cool compress also will feel good. Take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like ibuprofen and apply ice to relieve the discomfort and reduce inflammation.
Be Sun Smart
Anything that stresses the skin around your mouth and nose can bring on a cold sore. If you are prone to cold sores, wear sun screen on and around your lips when you are outdoors, because sun exposure can trigger an outbreak. Keep your lips well moisturized and reapply moisturizer after eating and drinking. Consider taking a vitamin and mineral supplement that contains vitamin C and zinc, because these nutrients are important for maintaining and healing the skin.
The De-stress Defense
Stress is a big trigger for cold sores because it depresses the activity of the immune system. Therefore effective stress management is important for decreasing the frequency of outbreaks. Exercise, meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, breath work and a healthy diet are all ways to reduce the effects of stress on your body and boost the efficiency of your immune system.