It’s the holiday season – a fun yet stressful time of year for most of us.
This is the season for comfort foods, lots of time with family and friends, and unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when cold sores are most prevalent.
Isn’t it upsetting when you start to feel that tingling sensation in your lip? This is actually the first indicator that a cold sore will soon rear its ugly head.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to treat and prevent cold sores this winter season. But not every cold sore treatment is created equal.
Today, I want to show you treatments that actually work.
How to deal with cold sores – Your winter guide to cold sore treatments
The best way to deal with a cold sore is to never get one in the first place.
So, the first part of my winter guide will deal with prevention, followed up by some helpful and effective treatments.
Start with prevention
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent getting a cold sore this holiday season.
- Avoid kissing anyone with a cold sore.
- Avoid sharing drinks, food, or utensils with anyone who has a cold sore.
- Wash your hands often (which will protect against all sorts of germs).
- Take some time to distress (get a massage, meditate, go for a walk, etc.)
- Eat as healthy as possible to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
- Keep lips well-moisturized, but throw away any lip gloss, lipstick, or lip liners that have been contaminated.
How to deal with cold sores once you get them
Once you get a cold sore, try these home treatments.
- Apply ice to reduce swelling and redness
- Saturate a cotton swab or ball with pure vanilla extract and apply to the sore for 30-60 seconds, 3-4 times each day. Vanilla is a natural anti-viral.
- Prevention magazine recommends making a paste out of licorice extract and petroleum jelly. It’s been shown to help some people’s sores heal more quickly.
- Make sure to keep your hands away from the sore. You could pass along the virus to someone else that way, or risk getting the sore infected with bacteria.
Cold Sores – Why they’re so prevalent at this time of year
You might be thinking – a winter guide is great, but what causes cold sores in the first place?
Cold sores are caused by a virus, namely, the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). Unfortunately, once you get HSV-1 it’s with you for life, which means you can experience a breakout at any time.
However, as most cold sore sufferers will tell you, winter seems to be a particularly bad time of year to get them. Why is this?
There are multiple factors.
In the cold weather, our lips are prone to getting dry and cracked. This makes it easier for the virus to make its way into our bodies.
Then, there’s the issue of artificial heating. Viruses love a nice, warm environment, and during the cold weather, we often opt to stay inside where it’s nice and cozy. And if the same warm air is being re-circulated throughout the home, we end up being repeatedly exposed to the virus.
Another factor is the stress of the season and the fact that this is cold and flu season. There’s no denying that many of us feel tired and run down this time of year. Our immune systems definitely take a beating, and when that happens, it’s harder to fight off bacteria and viruses.
Let me help you with your cold sore issues
Cold sores are a pain to deal with. Not only do they hurt physically, they can make us really insecure.
If you deal with cold sores on a regular basis, please come see me. I can help you find the best solution for your particular situation and show you how to keep your mouth healthy.
Another reason I really want you to come in if you have mouth sores is because sometimes these can be a symptom of a bigger problem.
Some patients with immune deficiencies, hormone issues, or other general health problems deal with mouth sores regularly.
Finding out what the real culprit is could save your health and help reduce the occurrence of these sores.
Do you suffer with mouth sores? Contact my office to schedule a dental examination. I’ll examine your teeth and do a soft tissue evaluation as well. Together, we can find a solution to your mouth sore issues.
Dr. Jay Patel - dentist Calgary SE