Maybe it started in childhood following a severe cold or later in life during a period of stress. The first cold sore often comes as a surprise, is miserable for a few days and gradually heals. These events are uncomplicated and manageable. It becomes a problem when suddenly they appear more often. They interrupt date night, become an embarrassment before a big meeting or just never seem to entirely disappear. This is when it is important to become educated about the reality of cold sores and how those that suffer from them can learn to protect themselves and prepare for the next outbreak.
Realize cold sores are contagious and can spread.
One of the most important facts people need to remember is how easy it is to spread cold sores. This includes spreading them to others and causing new outbreaks from one lesion. Avoid sharing towels, utensils or personal care items with anyone during an outbreak. Hand washing is more important than ever and do not touch any other part of the skin after touching a cold sore.
Cold sores are very dangerous to the young.
Anyone with an active cold sore should refrain from kissing infants. Always wash hands thoroughly before holding an infant. Babies are very susceptible to cold sore infections and the virus can spread through their systems rapidly. The infection can spread to the brain, the eyes and other organs and potentially cause permanent damage. There have been cases of infants dying from the infection.
Cold sore “cures” can lead to scarring.
Be cautious of the advice offered for curing a cold sore. Popping the blisters and applying a caustic material in an attempt to dry up the liquid faster could cause infection and scarring. Do not pick at the blisters or the scabs after they begin to heal. Ice packs, milk compresses and a thin layer of aloe vera can safely soothe and relieve the discomfort of a cold sore. These remedies and prescription and OTC medications may also help the sore to heal faster.
Infection is possible with cold sores.
Get medical help if the skin is red and warm beyond the lesion or if there is more pain than expected. Infection is possible and if it is not addressed quickly it could lead to serious health concerns, like any untreated infection. An antibiotic will help to heal the infection but it will not treat the cold sore.
It is possible to stop some cold sores from forming.
Chronic cold sore sufferers should not expect to never experience a cold sore again. A complete and total cure has not yet been discovered. That does not mean that people cannot find ways to stop the majority of their outbreaks and shorten the lifespan of cold sores that do emerge. Drink more whole milk, add Vitamin C to the diet and avoid acidic and spicy foods. Practice stress management techniques and wear sunblock. Purchase a device known as “The Inhibitor“. It is useful for a variety of skin blemishes and is safe to use on existing cold sores and areas where a sore seems to be forming.