Winter and Cold Sores
WRITTEN BY QUIETA BAIL, STUDENT NATUROPATH
Cold sores are a group of blisters that commonly occur around the mouth and nose, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Up to 90% of the worlds population has had at least one form of HSV, making it an extremely common, yet frustrating, condition. Although some people only experience cold sores once in their life, many people get reoccurring cold sores. Either way, there is no cure for cold sores, so even if you’ve had them only once, the virus can lay dormant in your body for many years. There are many things that can trigger an outbreak, including stress, allergies, colds & flus, and sunburn. Commonly, many people find that cold sores are always worse in winter.
Why do they come out in winter?
It’s believed that cold weather may possibly reactivate the cold sore virus. Changes in temperature, particularly a shift to windy and cold, can cause the lips to become dry and chapped, which can lead to the protective barrier function becoming reduced. As the virus lies dormant in our nerve endings, this drying out of the surface can trigger the virus to start replicating, traveling down the nerves and causing an outbreak on the lips.
Another theory is that it also has to do with the immune system. In the colder months, our immune system tends to pick up more colds & flus and becomes depleted. We tend to get less vitamin D during winter, may be exercising less and eating more unhealthily, all of which can deplete the immune system. When the immune system is depleted, we become more susceptible of common colds and viruses, but also the viruses within our systems can become reactivated. Especially if we have other infections, it may be harder for our body to fight off the cold sores.
What can we do…
Firstly, prevention is always greater than trying to cure! If you are someone who frequently gets cold sores, there are several steps you can take to avoid an outbreak this winter.
- Boost your immune system: coming into the colder months, prepare your body and immune system to keep it strong. Try to keep the uptake of fruit & vegetables that contain vitamin C or you can choose to supplement. If you can’t get 30 minutes of sun every day, find a high quality Vitamin D supplement. Keeping up with exercise and stress reduction techniques such as meditation may also assist you as high stress can impact negatively on the immune system. L-Lysine is an amino acid used to inhibit the enzyme that triggers the virus, so taking a lysine supplement can help prevent cold sores. Other supplements that can help improve your immune system include Zinc and probiotics.
- Keep hydrated: internally and externally, it can be sometimes harder to keep hydrated during the winter months. Cold weather sometimes makes people forget to keep up with water intake, so make sure you’re still getting at least 1.5 liters a day. Keeping your lips hydrated is also important to ensure they don’t dry out and become the perfect environment for a cold sore outbreak. Out 100% organic lip balms also contain SPF which can reduce any damage from the sun.
- Have Cold Sore Relief Handy: having the 100% natural cold sore relief is your best and safest bet for stopping cold sore’s in their tracks. Sometimes a cold sore comes no matter what you do, so having something handy to apply at the first sign of a cold sore (tingling, burning or itching) can help to reduce it’s growth and quickly heal the skin.
How cold sore relief helps
Necessity’s Natural Cold Sore Relief is a stand-alone product, with a powerful, all natural formula which helps in preventing outbreaks, reducing growth when caught early, and reducing sores that are fully developed.
It contains tea tree oil, which has antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions which have been found to show affect on HSV. It also contains eucalyptus oil, which, in cell structure tests in labs, has been found to reduce duration and severity of cold sores. These oils are in a blend of camellia, jojoba, rosewood, vetiver and lavender, all of which help to nourish the skip and provide great anti-inflammatory properties.
- How to use:
At the first sign of cold sore symptoms (tingling, burning or itching), place 1-2 drops on the fingertip and apply to the affected area 3 or 4 times daily. Repeat after meals, at bedtime and on waking until no sign of the sore remains. For fully developed sores, use 1 or 2 drops several times a day until no sign remains. To help prevent outbreaks, apply a few drops two or three times a week to areas prone to cold sores.