Winter weather is often a trigger for cold sores, which can be unsightly, an inconvenience, and even painful. Extreme weather conditions and stress, which are all too common around the holiday season, make cold sores more likely around this time of year. You might be surprised to learn that around 90 percent of adults around the world test positive for the virus that causes cold sores!
Although there’s no cure for cold sores, there are some effective ways to treat them and preventative measures to keep them away all season long.
What Causes Cold Sores?
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and your first cold sore breakout will likely be your worst one. Since the virus never leaves your body once you have it, you can experience a flare-up at any time.
If you have a weak immune system, you may be at a higher risk of developing cold sores. This risk is even higher if you have eczema, are undergoing cancer chemotherapy, have HIV or AIDS, or have suffered from severe burns. Other factors that bring cold sores on include fevers, flu, hormonal fluctuation, and sun exposure.
Symptoms of Cold Sores
Cold sores often progress through several stages once they appear on the skin. The first stage is characterized by itchy and tingly sensations. Then the blister forms, usually where the outside of the lip meets the skin. Although rarer, some people experience cold sores around their nose or on their cheeks. The last phase occurs when the cold sore begins oozing and crusting over. These symptoms may be accompanied by fever, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.
Cold Sore Natural Remedies
Since skin affected by a cold sore is already extra sensitive, it’s a smart idea to avoid putting harsh chemicals on it, which could irritate the skin even further. Fortunately, there are some great natural remedies for cold sores that have worked well for many people who suffer from them on an occasional basis.
These are some natural remedies to try next time you get a cold sore:
- Vanilla extract dabbed on with a cotton swab
- Lemon balm to reduce healing time
- Ice to reduce pain and inflammation
- Aloe vera to nourish inflamed skin
- Zinc oxide cream to reduce symptoms
- Beeswax for pain and healing
- Petroleum jelly for soothing relief
- Olive Leaf Extract and OliveViate can help to sooth these irrritations. Open a capsule of the Olive Leaf Extract and apply some powder directly to the skin.
How to Prevent Cold Sores
One of the best ways to prevent cold sores and many other types of sickness is to avoid stress, although that’s often easier said than done. Since cold sores are caused by a virus that never leaves your body, it lies dormant for most of the time until something triggers it to flare up. Stress is a huge trigger, so it’s important to find ways to manage your stress. This may mean saying “no” to the occasional social invitation, getting more sleep, or practicing meditation.
It’s also a good idea to keep your lips moisturized, especially after spending time outdoors in the cold and wind. For a healthy and natural approach to winter skincare, try our Smooth Skin Day Use therapeutic skin ointment, which is a blend of Omega 3 fatty acids, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, natural vitamin E and vanilla oil.
When you have a cold sore, avoid sharing towels with anyone else to prevent the virus from spreading. Throw out your toothbrush and replace it with a new one.
For additional protection, cover your mouth up with a scarf when you spend time outside. Anytime you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose, make sure to wash your hands with warm, soapy water to prevent the spread of germs and reduce your risk of developing a cold sore. To reduce germs around your home, stock up on our Olive Leaf Surface Cleaner for the winter season.