If you frequently suffer from cold sores you already know how unpleasant the condition can be. Although it isn’t serious in most people, it does make life quite miserable due to soreness and the knowledge that on your normally perfect face you’re now wearing an ugly open sore. You may have tried some treatments already to try and help the situation, but do you really know how to treat cold sores effectively?
To help prevent outbreaks from reoccurring so often we need to avoid anything that is known to trigger cold sores. While you may not have noticed anything specific, there are a number that are common, such as a weakened immune system. Typically this is brought about by a cold or flu, but other common causes include poor diet, lack of exercise, sleeping too little, stress, or even exposure to sunlight; much of this is within our control and may take discipline to change the habits of a lifetime that cause these, but the remedies are obvious. Less obvious are cold sores caused by menstruation or menopause, although actively seeking relaxation and taking supplements can have an effect. While eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise are clear, there are a number of foods that we should ensure are included in our meals.
- Garlic is often presented as a miracle food, but it is a natural antiseptic and seems to possess strong antiviral properties too.
- Vitamins A, E and C have been shown to help and can be taken naturally or as a supplement.
- Regular L-lysine or zinc can help reduce the number of outbreaks.
- Some researches believe that outbreaks are caused by excessive amounts of the amino acid arginine, or an imbalance between arginine and lysine. Arginine is found in chocolate, nuts, cereals and beer, which should all be avoided if you believe that this is what triggers your outbreaks.
- Naturopaths recommend root ginger for boosting the immune system, or mixing a tea spoon of juice from an onion and mixing it with 2 parts honey, taken once a day.
Of course following a diet including all of these may not prevent all your cold sore attacks, particularly if you are a chronic sufferer, and so when they do appear, the focus of your attack needs to change. Making you life more comfortable by reducing inflammation and pain, and healing the lesion fast become top priorities.
- Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, has proved to provide excellent healing properties for cold sores. In Europe it is available as a cream, but equally effective is to make a tea from it and when cool, dab it on the blister, sore or scab. It is also known as Melissa.
- Aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol can all help ease the pain if nothing else will.
- Tea tree oil or a tea bag applied direct to the sore have also proved effective in many cases, both reducing inflammation and fighting the cold sore virus.
Knowing how to treat cold sores means taking responsibility for your own health and taking proactive measures to prevent them from occurring. By making the changes in you life necessary you will not only suffer less from this nasty condition, but feel back in control of your well-being.
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