Determining the biggest problem with cold sores is challenging. After all, there is so much about them to dislike. Cold sores are messy, unattractive and contagious. They cause pain, sometimes spread to other parts of the face and may leave scars. Some of the blemishes get infected and become even more painful, noticeable and annoying. However, even worse than all of this is their unpredictability.
It is not uncommon to have a series of cold sores appear repeatedly over a few months and then have them magically disappear. Sometimes people will go years without an outbreak only to suddenly begin having them monthly. They always seem to arrive at the worst possible time. Of course, this may be because there is never a good time to have one. Luckily, there is something that can be done to predict the arrival of an outbreak, and then stop it before it develops.
Step #1 Document all Outbreaks
Do not just mark on a calendar when outbreaks occur. Write down in a journal the weather conditions, any illnesses and what events were taking place at the time of the outbreak. Make a note about what types of food were being consumed in the days prior to the outbreak and how much sun exposure was experienced.
Step #2 Review the Patterns
Cold sores are not always as random as people think. It is possible to find these patterns by recording the events happening at the time of an outbreak. For example, someone may discover that they only had a cold sore after spending the day outside or when they were working overtime and under a lot of pressure.
Step #3 Create a Plan
Changes in habits and behaviors can help to break a cold sore pattern. Identify the trigger and do something to counteract the problem. Practicing mediation or getting a massage when stressed, for example. Even though it is impossible to stop all colds or flu viruses, people can eat healthier and sleep more to boost their immune system and get an annual flu shot to provide additional protection.
Step #4 Get Extra Help
Cures are currently not available, but some treatments are so effective they can seem like a cure. Lysine is available as a topical ointment and an oral supplement and some research showed it effective at treating cold sores. Lysine is also found naturally in milk and increasing the intake of milk may reduce outbreaks. Using a milk compress on a cold sore can help to reduce redness and swelling. Another option is a medical device known as the Inhibitor. This small appliance uses a faint electrical charge to zap the skin and stop the development of a cold sore. It may prevent a blemish from developing or shorten the life of one that is already visible.
Predicting when a cold sore will arrive and then stopping it in its tracks is the best way to eliminate the worst part of this annoying problem. Taking control of the situation will help chronic cold sore sufferers to finally stop feeling helpless.