How can I prevent cold sores ?
Once you have the virus in your body there’s no cure for it, but there are some things you can do to avoid getting it in the first place and limit flare ups of cold sores if you do have it.
To prevent getting the virus, the number one thing you can do is avoid coming into close physical contact with anyone who has an active flare up.
Don’t share cutlery, cups or anything else that someone with cold sores might have used.
If you already have the herpes simplex virus
If you have the virus already and have had cold sores before, you can minimise the flare ups. If you experience frequent or severe outbreaks, your doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral medicines to take every day which prevent the cold sores from coming back.
Otherwise, you can try lifestyle changes that might help keep the blisters at bay.
Other things you can do include:
- Don’t touch the sores - however tempting, just leave them alone.
- Don’t pick the sores - they can become infected and you might transmit them to other areas of your body.
- Always wash your hands after touching your lips.
- Eat a varied diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep so that you keep your immune system functioning well.
- Keep an eye on your triggers - some women find that their menstrual cycle can trigger an outbreak so have some cold sore medicine on hand for that first tingle if you know it’s something that sets yours off.
- Using sunblock can also help to prevent a flare up in some people.