The last blog was all about maintaining a healthy pout, which is a great segway to when lips go awry….specifically, cold sores. Within the fourth decade of life, eighty to ninety percent of people have the cold sore virus, which is Herpes Simplex type I. However, even for those who have the virus, it may not ever show its presence, but rather, lie latent as an unknown guest in the lip mucosa.
This virus is spread by direct contact with a lesion or with virus-containing fluid, like saliva or vaginal secretions. Although HSV I is typical for the oral mucosa, it can be transferred to the genital region, or vice-versa, with HSV II of the genital region adopting in the oral mucosa as well. This virus can also show up in more obscure places like the face/cheeks, buttocks, or fingers due to intimate relations or skin contact with an infected area.
Under times of stress, illness, trauma, or excessive sun exposure the virus can erupt. Typically its presence is preceded by a 12-24 hour tingling, burning, or stinging sensation and then….boom… a big, crusty blistery thing, planted in the same residence every occurrence.
So how do you get rid of Mount Vesuvius smack dab on your face? Well, there are several OTC and RX treatments that may help prevent, decrease the occurrence, or hasten the resolution of these lesions.
Although studies show mild effectiveness for supplementation with the amino acid Lysine, many cold sore sufferers swear it helps prevent frequent recurrence and decreases duration. It is thought to inhibit viral multiplication at doses of 500 mg daily to 1000 mg three times a day per some studies.
Yet a supplement called Trilex (click link new customers 10% off) has shown to pack a more powerful punch, as it includes Lysine, plus St. John’s Wart, Clematis Root, Genetian Root, Angelica Root, Bupleurum root, Skullcap Herb, Licorice Root, and Goldenseal Root; all of which help with the inflammation, swelling, and healing process.
Abreva or docosanol 10% cream, has antiviral activity, and helps reduce the severity of active cold sores.
For the inflammation and swelling of fever blisters, an OTC hydrocortisone or ice may be used.
Handheld narrow-band laser light devices like Virulite, have also shown antiviral activity, attributed to their activation of immune response in the affected area.
Prescription topical antivirals such as Denavir cream or Xerese help combat the virus and decrease the severity and duration of symptoms. While Viroxyn is a topical Benzocaine which aids in pain alleviation with cold sores. Prescription topical steroids are also utilized to decreased swelling and inflammation.
Oral antivirals are the most effective option for preventing or quickening the healing of HSV I skin lesions. Prescriptions such as Acyclovir (Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), or Famciclovir (Famvir), may be taken on a daily or per occurrence basis. Sitavig is a new med on the block, which is an oral dissolvable tablet advised to provide “significant relief from cold sore symptoms in just 3.5 days and completely heal in 5.5 days.” Per the manufacturer, it also extends the time between outbreaks.
HSV I is a chronic condition, it is easily transmitted, even from loving parents or relatives kissing a newborn baby. Thus, take care around the little ones who may suffer with severe rashes if infected. Wrestlers are also a commonly affected group, due to the prolonged and frictional skin-to-skin contact.
Although HSV I is common, it is still a nuisance for those who suffer with its crust. Yet, with the lip care tips above, there are options to calm and prevent its occurrence.
*The information provided above or in any blogs on this site is for educational purposes only. I does not replace advice or necessary examination and diagnosis from your healthcare clinician. Please see your healthcare provider for any and all concerns with changes in your health or treatment of disease.*