Cold sore prevention is an often debated topic. Many people claim herbs and natural remedies can prevent it, whereas other people—medical professionals—vouch for simple protective measures.
The truth is cold sores cannot be prevented once the person catches the cold sore virus, called the herpes simplex virus (HSV). No medicines or holistic healing methods are proven to have a preventative impact on cold sores—at least not as effectively as reducing the number of ways to get HSV. This is because no cure currently exists. But taking practical measures to avoid catching the virus can prevent cold sores.
How to Prevent Cold Sores
Cold sores are only preventable by avoiding objects, situations, or people carrying HSV. Although some alternative health companies claim certain medicines and herbs can prevent it, there are no studies currently proving if it is beneficial. According to the Mayo Clinic and WebMD, however, simple preventative measures go a long way to prevent nasty HSV blisters and mouth sores. Use the following tips to prevent the development of cold sores.
Tip #1: Avoid kissing or having any skin contact with people who have visible cold sores. HSV commonly spreads through person to person contact, either through kissing or sharing items touched by the person’s lips. Avoiding skin contact with a person or any contaminated items significantly reduces the risk of catching HSV—and subsequently, prevents cold sores.
If skin contact is unavoidable, make sure to wash all areas touched by the infected skin immediately. Lather up the affected skin area with plenty of soap and water.
Tip #2: Keep lips moisturized with a protective lip balm to prevent cold sores. The lip balm keeps the lips moisturized while preventing it from cracking or splitting, reducing the number of ways HSV can enter through the skin. HSV can only infect the body if there is an opening in the skin, such as a cut, scratch, or crack in the skin.
Want to further protect lips from infection? Look for lip balms with at least an SPF of 15, which protects the lips from the sun. The sun can dry out lips, making it more prone to splits or cracks.
Tip #3: Prevent cold sores by maintaining a healthy diet and an adequate sleep schedule. According to Herpes Guide, both factors keep the immune system strong, preventing cold sores. HSV attacks when the body is weak or stressed out, often if the person does not eat right or regularly thrives on three hours of sleep. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, and lean meat keeps the immune system alert and active. An adequate night of rest, or 7 hours of more, also boosts the immune system and prevents cold sores.
The key with all three methods is to prepare the immune system for an incoming attack while reducing the number of ways HSV can enter the body. Remember to limit the ways HSV can transfer to the skin, keep at risk areas moisturized to prevent sudden cuts or cracks, and eat plenty of immune boosting foods to prevent cold sores. This is the most effective way to keep your mouth blister free all year long.