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Cold Sores

Anyone that suffers from cold sores knows the familiar tingle. As soon as you feel this sensation, it is important to act straight away. Cold sores are transmitted by the Herpes simplex virus. They can present themselves anywhere on the body but are most commonly found around the mouth and inside the nose. The virus can lie dormant in the body for many years but is only activated during periods of stress, low immune status, and exposure to the cold or sunlight/sunburn. Interestingly, some women find that the time of the month can also trigger an outbreak.

First and foremost, hygiene is of prime importance. During an outbreak, don’t kiss, share utensils, towels, razors or toothbrushes with others. If you can break ‘cross-contamination’ between partners it can reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.

Avoid your individual triggers – for example some people find that excessive sun exposure can trigger an outbreak. As such, learn to protect yourself from the sun. One of the most common triggers is stress. As such, work on stress relieving strategies and take the warning sign – when you feel the cold sore developing slow down!

Treatment strategies include the prescription of the amino acid L-Lysine which is effective at reducing the intensity of the Herpes virus. Foods such as kidney beans, split peas, fish, lamb, cheese and sprouts are all useful sources of Lysine, however, supplementation (especially when taken preventatively) is the best alternative. Conversely the amino acid L-Arginine can be stimulating to viruses. As such, reduce foods high in L-Arginine such as nuts, chocolate, carob, coconut, soya beans and oats.