I’ve suffered from cold sores since I was a teenager and when I say suffered, I mean it. (Just so you know, there are pictures so if you’re squeamish, you should probably scoot to another post.)
In 2016, I had a cluster of cold sores that were so big that I couldn’t close my mouth because it was so painful. I went to work armed with painkillers and cold sore cream, but the first person I saw said: “what’s on your lip?!” Great start.
Cold sores just happen.
You can contract the virus at any time and it’s actually quite contagious which adds to the feeling of being a leper. It can be passed on by touch, or if you share the same towel as someone who has an active cold sore.
Timeline of Cold Sores
First, you’ll feel a weird itchy tingle. This is when you know to start treatment.
I always get cold sores on my top lip (apart from the rare one that decided it wanted to hide between my lp and chin…) so I apply some of this cold sore cream and take a vitamin C tablet. When I go to bed, I apply a cold sore patch to work overnight.
If the cold sore appears the next day, I put some of this blemish stick on with a cotton bud. The most important ingredient is tea tree because it helps to cool the area and fights the virus. Then I’ll dab on a tiny bit of cream and apply another cold sore patch.
The blisters can last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on how badly the virus has presented itself. It will start to scab over and this is when you need to keep it damp – if the blister gets dry, it’ll crack and be prone to infection (yeah, not nice!)
Apply the cream every few hours and WASH YOUR HANDS. The scabs and cold sore will heal on their own, you just need to give them as much help as possible.
Prevention of Cold Sores
The best way to prevent cold sores is to eat a healthy diet and exercise as regularly as possible. You need to keep your immune system running as efficiently as it can.
Take vitamins every day, especially Vitamin C. If you’re not a fan of taking vitamins, you can find vitamin C in foods like peppers, strawberries, oranges, even broccoli!
Make sure you stay hydrated. The body will fight to find water and your systems start to work less efficiently, so make sure you’re drinking as much as you can.
Wrap up warm. It’s no coincidence that you get cold sores in winter. When you leave the house, make sure you’re wrapped up warm and use a lip butter so they don’t get dry and chapped.
Know your triggers. For some people, it can be fatigue, for others, it’s bright sunlight. Make sure you work out yours and try and avoid it.
Things to Remember
Cold sores just happen. It’s not your fault. You’re not dirty.
Wash your hands. Whenever you touch your lip or apply cream, wash your hands.
Taking a day for you is so important. Have a bath and get an early night. Your body needs to heal and it can’t do that if you’re rushing around.