Before you turn to medication, you may want to ensure that you are doing everything within your power to control your outbreaks. The easy hygiene and self-care tips below may be able to help you control your cold sores.
Be cautious about spreading the virus -- both to other people and to other parts of your body. Washing your hands thoroughly can help prevent this. You should also use caution when touching other parts of your own body, since the eyes and genitals can be especially easy to infect [source: Mayo Clinic].
No one knows every cause of every outbreak, some environmental factors can influence when your cold sores will return. These include having a fever, cold or the flu, spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen, being stressed or experiencing changes in your immune system. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a lower amount of stress and wearing sunscreen on your lips and face while outdoors can help alleviate some of these outbreak causes. If you already have an active outbreak, applying ice or a warm compress to the area can help ease the pain associated with blisters. You should also avoid picking or squeezing the sores, since this can interfere with the healing process [source: Mayo Clinic].
Cold sores are a common ailment; although they can be bothersome, many people have success with the treatment methods listed above. To learn more about how fever blisters work, visit the links below.
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Herpes Simplex." (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/viral_herpes_simplex.html
- Mayo Clinic. "Cold Sore." 3/13/08 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-sore/DS00358
- MedicineNet. "Herpes Simplex Infections." 10/16/07 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.medicinenet.com/herpes_simplex_infections_non-genital/article.htm#13whatmakes
- MedlinePlus. "Cold Sores." (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/coldsores.html
- Pennsylvania State University. "Cold Sores." Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. 10/31/06 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.hmc.psu.edu/healthinfo/c/coldsores.htm
- WebMD. "Understanding Cold Sores: The Basics." 12/1/08 (Accessed 10/5/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-cold-sores-basics