A cold sore is a blister which appears on the face, usually around the lips and nose and often in clusters. The raised blister is filled with a pale yellow fluid which crusts over when the blister bursts. The sore is itchy and painful.
Cold sores are not harmful but they are unsightly and highly contagious. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. They are passed on from someone else who has the virus and are often contracted from kissing. Many succeed in developing a natural immunity to the virus, but for those who don't, the virus remains in the body, lying dormant until it is triggered off by illness, stress or being run-down. Weather such as strong sunlight and cold winds can also reactivate the virus.
Vitamin A, E and zinc supplements are all helpful in this condition. Vitamin E oil may be applied topically. Garlic oil may also help.
When to seek further professional advice
If you have recurrent cold sores you should consult your doctor so that he may prescribe the most useful medication to help clear the cold sores up.
Naturopathy: Naturopaths will recommend vitamins A, B3, B5 and B complex and Vitamin C.
Other Therapies include: Homepathy, Aromatherapy and Chinese Herbalism.
Cold sores usually disappear after a week, with or without treatment. However, an outbreak can be shortened by using an anti-viral cream as soon as the first warning signs of tingling appear. Avoid getting stressed or run down, if possible, as this can bring on an attack.
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