Herpes Simplex: 6 Ways To Combat Cold Sores
Cold sores, fever blisters, oral herpes simplex – call them what you will. These viral infections cause eruptions of sores and blisters on the lips and around the mouth that can be quite painful to those affected. “While they can be associated with stress, trauma, decreased immunity or another inciting factors, more often than not the breakouts are unpredictable,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified Dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “This is what makes cold sores so frustrating for patients.”
Although there is no cure for cold sores once you’ve been infected, there are a few things you can do to help avoid getting them and treating the virus when it resurfaces.
- Topical Medications – One of the most common ways that cold sores are treated are with creams or topical medications like Abreva or Herpecin L. “These creams contain antiviral formulations that can shorten the duration of a herpes outbreak,” explains Dr. Mamelak.
- Oral Medications – Acyclovir, Valcyclovir and Famvir are medication used to decrease the severity of an outbreak, shorten its duration and stop the virus from spreading. These medication can also be used to suppress the frequency of cold sore outbreaks, especially in patients who get multiple infections in a year.
- Change Your Toothbrush – Razors and lipstick too! Any item that comes in contact with an active outbreak could potentially spread the virus. By changing your toothbrush more frequently, you avoid the chances of inciting more breakouts.
- Sunscreen – Believe it or not, sun and sunburns can lead to herpes outbreaks. “Dry or damaged skin can lead to outbreaks,” says Dr. Mamelak. By using sunscreen, you can protect your skin from UV rays and sun damage that could leave your skin more susceptible.
- Wash Your Hands – “You would be surprised how often we touch our face in a day!” notes Dr. Mamelak. Manipulating the effective areas can cause them to spread.
- Avoid Direct Contact With Cold Sores – Fresh cold sores contain live virus particles, making them contagious to others. Just as touching these areas runs the risk of infecting other areas of your skin, it is best to avoid contact with others as well.