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Cold sores: Tips for the lips

(NC) — For the one in five Canadians who suffer from cold sores annually, quality of life can be significantly affected. “Cold sores are always an inconvenience,” said Stephanie Dunlop, a cold sore sufferer. “An outbreak means ruined school and vacation photos, kiss-less anniversaries and constant pain. I would do anything to avoid them.”

If you’re living with cold sores, here are some tips for your lips:

Prevent outbreaks before they start

Get plenty of rest and avoid triggers that react with the virus such as UV light, allergies, emotional stress and dry lips

Use sun protection on the lips and surrounding skin before sun or wind exposure

Be aware of unpreventable triggers (i.e.) menstruation, fever, illness, injury and trauma

How to deal

— Don’t squeeze, pinch, bite or pick at blisters

— Rinse your mouth often with mouthwash or salt water (1 teaspoon per 500mL of water) to help soothe the sore

— Avoid acidic foods such as pickles, tomatoes, citrus foods and salty snacks that may sting

— Avoid direct contact with other persons during the period when the blisters are developing

Managing the virus and outbreaks While there is no cure for cold sores, there are numerous options available in Canada such as topical and oral treatments (prescription-based and over-the-counter), and home remedies such as applying ice or lemon balm. Current available options are single-agent antiviral therapies and do not address the inflammatory process that underlies the sore development.

Xerese (acyclovir 5% and hydrocortisone 1%) Topical Cream works in two ways – to stop the virus from replicating and causing an infection, while also reducing inflammation.

No one wants their vacation photos tainted by cold sores. Go ahead and speak with a healthcare professional to see if Xerese is right for you.