Cold sores are a pesky problem, especially in the winter months with all of the cold viruses running rampant. The true cold sore is actually caused by the Herpes virus. Once a person has it, it can never be cured and will flare on and off for the rest of that person’s life. The flare occurs when the immune system is lowered by either being utilized to fight off other infections, dealing with other disease, when a person is under severe emotional stress or has unhealthy diets.
The best prevention of cold sores is, first and foremost to never get one to begin with. To avoid contracting the herpes virus, it is necessary to avoid kissing, sharing glasses or otherwise coming in to contact with someone with an open sore on or around their lips.
Once the virus has been contracted the best way to keep the virus from causing recurrent cold sores is to stay as healthy as possible. Tips for staying healthy are:
Having regularly scheduled check-ups with your primary care provider
Vigorous hand washing and use of antibacterial soaps and cleaners
Avoid sharing drinks with others and using good judgment so as not to contract any of the commonly occurring cold viruses.
Remember, anything that lowers the immune system or requires it to fight extra hard can allow the virus to resurface and cause a cold sore. Once a lesion appears, it is also contagious to others with no history of cold sores.
If recurrent cold sores continue to be a problem, prescriptions can be given to be taken daily to keep the sore from occurring. These include Valtrex, Acyclovir, Famvir and others of the same class.
Once a cold sore has formed these same medications and many topical preparations can be prescribed to be taken in short duration. This is important, to both heal the sore, and to keep others from contracting it.
If you have any other questions on how to prevent a cold sore, please be sure to speak to your provider.
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