Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Let's talk cold sores

First of all, lets clear up what a cold sore actually is and ways of which people can unfortunately develop them. According to the NHS website (medical website in the UK) cold sores are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The strain of herpes simplex virus usually responsible for cold sores is known as HSV-1.  There are two types of herpes, which many people get confused about. HSV-1 is developed around the mouth - which is a cold-sore, and HSV-2 is genital herpes. 

There is so much negativity that surrounds a cold sore and yes, it is a form of herpes. Now, before you start passing judgement when you see someone who suffers with this, you need to learn a few home truths. 

I have been at the brunt end of negativity and bullying when I was growing up due to this matter and this is simply down to sheer ignorance and lack of understanding.  

So, lets get a few things straight! It isn't just through sex that you can catch herpes. I have suffered with cold sores since I was 2 years old. Cold sores are extremely contagious and my mother has been a long sufferer of this. 

The herpes simplex virus – or "cold sore virus" can be easily passed from person to person by close direct contact. After someone has contracted the virus, it remains dormant most of the time. However, every so often the virus can be activated by certain triggers, resulting in an outbreak of cold sores. These triggers vary from person to person.

My personal triggers are stress and nuts. I have to stay away from almonds and chocolate coated peanuts such as M&Ms. I have found that as long as I stay healthy and refrain from eating certain foods, I rarely have a cold sore. 

No contact
If you do suffer from cold sores, or know someone that does please ensure that you:

  • Never drink from their cup when they have a cold sore
  • Never use their face towel 
  • Don't use their toothbrush - this is gross and you shouldn't anyway
  • No kissing or oral sex
  • No touching the infected area - this can cause your cold sore to spread and also impacts the healing process
Of course, this is only between the 7-10 day healing process, because it is contagious. At any other time, it is fine. I would suggest throwing away your toothbrush after you've had a cold sore as germs and bacteria will be on this, and I would change your bedding also as your face will have been on your pillow. It's best to be cautious and avoid developing another cold sore. 

The best medication for cold sores 
If you suffer from a cold sore on the odd occasions like myself, then using the following treatment can help:
  • Zovirax - best cream I have ever used and gets rid of cold sores quickly. Ensure you apply immediately as soon as your start to feel a tingle
  • Blistex - I use this all of the time, this not only helps cracked lips, it also prevents cold sores 
  • Ice cubes - helps with the swelling, itchiness and also numbs the pain 
  • Paracetamol - in case you get pain when you have a cold sore, it's always useful 
I would suggest applying cold sore cream with a cotton bud and washing your hands immediately after to avoid spreading. If you suffer more frequently with cold sores I would consult your  doctor as I do believe you can get stronger medication to help. 

I hope you found this post useful! 



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