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Break the Cold Sore Cycle

Jul 17, 2008
If you suffer from frequent cold sore outbreaks and want to learn what you can do to reduce their frequency and duration and get back some of the control of your life you've lost to the condition then you'll want to read this article. In it I'll discuss the usual reasons for suffering frequent outbreaks, what you can do to turn the situation around and the future of cold sore treatments. After reading this article, you should be able to make some lifestyle changes that will help your body fight the virus better.

Cold sore are caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-I), which is transmitted directly by contact with a cold sore blister or lesion. It is extremely common, with infection rates estimated to be anywhere between 70 and 90 percent of the adult population, with many of us contracting the virus in childhood.

The big problem with treating HSV is that there is currently no cure and so once infected it remains with us for life. That isn't to say that we will permanently have cold sores; most of the time the virus is in a dormant state in the nerve cells, where it is immune from anti-viral treatments that can attack it when in the infectious state.

Cold sores are often triggered by the presence of another viral infection, such as a cold or flu; high levels of stress; overtiredness; hormonal changes such as those present due to menstruation; and even exposure to sunlight.

While we are not in control of all of these, one long term strategy is to ensure that our lifestyles do not overburden the immune system so that it is better suited to deal with the cold sore virus, so that we suffer fewer outbreaks and those that occur are less severe.

Simple lifestyle changes include quitting smoking and reducing the amount of alcohol we consume. Also, it is important to our immune systems that we eat healthily and take regular exercise. Probably you're used to hearing the advice on diet and exercise, but have you put it into practice?

If not, you should start to act now. Cut down on junk food and processed meals as they contain too much salt, sugar and saturated fats. Instead increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat and choose lean cuts of meat and fish whenever possible.

As for exercise, you should aim for a brisk walk for 30 minutes per day. If that doesn't appeal, try joining a gym, take an exercise class, swim, cycle or do yoga. These are all good forms of exercise. A note on this, though; if you haven't exercised for years then see your doctor first.

There has recently been a breakthrough by scientists researching a cold sore sure. They have discovered the mechanism that allows the virus to switch between the dormant state and infectious state and believe that they can design a two-stage treatment that will wake the virus so that it can then be attacked by anti-viral drugs. This may be some way off, but it does offer a hope for the millions of cold sore sufferers around the world.
About the Author
For more information on cold sore treatment see the Cold Sore Treatment Guide. Packed with advice on living with cold sores, it can help you deal with the long term effects as well as heal the lesions when they occur. See http://www.coldsoretreatmentguide.com for details.
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