Cold sores are a serious concern for the 40 percent of Americans that are affected by repeated outbreaks. It is estimated that 90 percent of the population is infected with HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores, but why some people develop cold sores after infection and others do not is still a medical mystery. Sufferers are often familiar with the basic treatment methods, but what they may worry about more is prevention. No one wants to deal with the discomfort or embarrassment if it is preventable. It is possible to stop many cold sores from forming, but it should be noted that no one can guarantee success every time.
Avoid Common Triggers
The first step of prevention is understanding what the triggers are for typical outbreaks. Some people experience cold sores during the winter when their skin is dry or during times of stress. Keeping the skin hydrated in the winter and taking part in activities that relieve stress may reduce the frequency of them appearing. Excessive sun exposure, food allergies and fatigue have also been identified as possible risk factors. Chronic sufferers that are confused by the cause of their cold sores should document their outbreaks and what their diet and lifestyle habits were during the previous days and weeks prior. This may make it easier to find the trigger and look for ways to avoid the problem in the future.
Practice Good Hygiene
Cold sores are extremely contagious and people sensitive to outbreaks are more likely to develop one if they are exposed to others with them. Avoid kissing or sharing towels, utensils or other personal items with others when they are experiencing an outbreak. Frequent hand washing is important, but it is equally important to keep the hands away from the face.
Strengthen Immune Response
A strong immune system will not stop the body from contracting HSV-1. What it can do is reduce the potential for an outbreak and generally keep any cold sores that do develop from becoming as severe. A healthy diet and adequate amount of sleep are usually enough for healthy individuals. People with health issues that affect their immune system or on medication that may lower their resistance should talk to their doctor about additional ways they can boost their immune systems.
Use Preventative Methods
Preventive measures are available for people who are familiar enough with the signs of an impending cold sore to identify when one is beginning. For the best result the preventative treatment must start at the very first itch, tingle or burning sensation. Home remedies are usually used to treat an existing sore, but some may help with prevention too. This includes placing ice packs on the affected area or using milk compresses. The Cold sore inhibitor is another solution that thousands of people have found more effective for them than any other methods. It is a reusable tool that uses a painless electrical signal to stop the blisters from forming.
Some people never experience the frustration and discomfort of a cold sore. Others endure them yearly, monthly or seem to have a new sore appear as soon as one fades away. Chronic sufferers will find it is worth the time, effort and the investment to rid their lives of this constant hassle.