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Kiss Goodbye to Cold Sores

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 10 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cold Sores Herpes Simplex Immune System

When you have that all important dinner date, business meeting, or job interview, the last thing you need is to be advertising that your physical system is running low. During times of physical or emotional stress 80% of adults break out in cold sores. They can be unsightly and embarrassing, but why do we get them and what can we do about it?What is a cold sore?

Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1) starts off as a small red bump or cluster of bumps, usually accompanied by a tingling or stinging sensation. The primary infection can appear anywhere from two to twenty days after exposure. They usually appear in the lips, but can show up on the nose or gums and cheeks. The sores, if untreated, will generally spread over the next two to three days. By this time they will have turned into an open sore, leaving you feeling very self-conscious. When the sore is open the virus is contagious and easily spread. You should avoid kissing, sharing cups, or lip balms at this time. Once the virus has dried up and the crust is gone, you are no longer contagious.

Accompanying Symptoms

Along with the cold sores often comes a range of more severe symptoms from swollen glands, fever, tiredness and aching joint. Future infections generally tend to recur at the same location as previous invasions. If you have ever had a cold sore then there is no escaping the possibility of a recurrence. Once this virus is in your body it is there for good. HSV1 stows away deep within your skin's nerve cells until it is activated for an outbreak. Cold sores are a sure sign that your immune system is at a low. Colds or flu, menstruation, emotional or physical stress, and lack of sleep can compromise the immune system. Sunlight can be another trigger as it suppresses the immune system.

What can you do about them?

If you're prone to cold sores, the best means of prevention is to use a sun block during the summer. Coffee and alcohol both suppress the immune system and so should ideally be avoided, along with acid causing foods such as tomatoes or eggplant. To relieve stress you can take up to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and magnesium daily, and vitamin B will give you an extra boost.

Garlic has excellent antiviral properties so it is good to take garlic to prevent cold sores or during an outbreak. If you don't like the taste too much then you can take capsules. If you don't mind the taste but eating fresh garlic gives you heartburn you can rub a clove on the soles of your feet. Within twenty minutes it will have entered your bloodstream and you will be able to taste it on your breath.

Herbs, which will boost your immune system, include Pau D'Arco, Ginseng, and Echinacea. Pregnant or nursing women should not use goldenseal. Neither should it be used for more than four consecutive weeks and then not again for about six months.

Herbal topical treatments, which can provide relief, are essential oil of lavender, lemon balm, or liquorice root.

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