Thursday, January 12, 2012

How To Deal And Cope With Cold Sores This Winter Season


During this winter season it seems that everyone your talk to has a cold sore. They seem to appear out of nowhere, and then reappear again and again. Today, we discuss cold sores, we ask the question(s):”What is a cold sore? How do they originate? And how do you treat them?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex1 virus (HSV-1).  They can appear as a single blister or cluster of them, often recurring in the same location, including on and around your lips, nose, chin or cheeks. Cold sores are very common and quite contagious.

An estimated 1 in 5 Canadians is affected by cold sores each year, and on average people experience 2 to 3 outbreaks per year. We are usually infected by the virus when we are children, and once the virus enters our bodies it never leaves. Most of the time the virus quietly hides or sleeps in our central nervous system, but certain triggers cause it to "wake up" and cause cold sores. Common triggers include stress, menstruation, sunlight, fever, dry chapped lips, or local skin trauma.

Many people who suffer from cold sores know when one is coming by the distinctive (and often dreaded) tingling or burning, redness, itching or pain they feel around their lips or mouth. This first stage can happen very quickly - from a few hours to a day or two. You might even go to bed without any symptoms and wake up to find you have a cold sore!

The next stage of a cold sore is the formation of one or more blisters. After the blister(s) has developed, it breaks and an unsightly yellow crust forms. Within a few days this crust falls off and leaves behind a pinkish skin that heals without a scar. The entire process usually takes between 8 to 10 days.

It is important to remember that cold sores are contagious. The virus can be passed from person to person and from one area of your body to another through skin-to-skin contact - even when blisters are not present. The virus is often transferred by kissing, as well as by hands or fingers that have touched a cold sore. The virus can even be passed by sharing cups, cans, glasses, eating utensils, towels and food items such as sandwiches.

You can't cure or prevent cold sores, but you can take steps to reduce how often they occur and shorten the length of an outbreak:
  • Use a lip moisturizer regularly to prevent your lips from becoming dry or chapped.
  • Try to avoid cold sore triggers such as stress or overexposure to the sun.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun or UV lamps, and always use a sunscreen lip balm with an SPF of at least 15.
  • During times of high stress, consider trying relaxation therapy.
  • Keep your immune system strong by maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.
  • Avoid kissing and skin contact with people, especially children, while blisters are present.
  • Avoid sharing food, cups/glasses/cans, utensils and towels when blisters are present.
  • Keep your hands clean - wash them frequently to avoid passing on the virus or infecting other areas of your body.
If you do get a cold sore it is recommended that you do take the following actions:
  • Do not squeeze, pinch, bite, or pick at blisters.
  • Avoid eating acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, or other foods such as salty snacks as they may sting and irritate the cold sore.
  • Rinse your mouth as often as necessary with a mouthwash product or a solution made by mixing one teaspoonful of salt in 500 mL of water. These remedies will help soothe cold sores and reduce irritation.
  • Gently wash the cold sore area with a mild soap-free liquid cleanser and pat dry with paper towels especially if food or dirt has contacted the cold sore
  • Remember to discard the used towels. Wash your hands carefully with a liquid cleanser and water and keep them away from cold sore lesions as much as possible.
  • Use a skin protectant or lip moisturizer to keep cold sore lesions moist and to prevent drying and cracking
  • Don't touch reusable applicators (lipsticks, lip balms, skin protectants, lip moisturizers, etc) directly to the cold sore; apply with a finger or other applicator such as a cotton swab and wash or discard immediately, as appropriate.
  • Cold sores are contagious. Avoid direct contact with other persons during the period when the blisters are developing. Try not to touch your eyes unless you have first washed your hands thoroughly.
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Life Choice Natural Supplements and Vitamins “Healing the Nation One Person at a Time” http://www.life-choice.net/

The Life Choice Brand, a leader in the field of natural supplements and vitamins, supports continuing research into human health and nutrition.

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