For quick cold sore relief - target the tingle
Cold sores are a common nuisance for 20 to 40 per cent of Canadians who get outbreaks two to three times per year. Yet Canadians are in the dark about the cause, triggers and treatments of cold sores. In fact, according to a new national Leger Marketing survey, the majority of Canadians (58 per cent) fail to identify the herpes virus as the cause of cold sores. And nearly seven in 10 Canadians don't know that cold sores are spread through saliva.
Cold sores, or fever blisters, are blisters or lesions typically found around the lips or nostrils that are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1). Once you get the virus there's no cure. It remains latent in your facial nerves until a trigger, like extreme weather or stress, triggers a cold sore outbreak. Cold sores are highly contagious when the lesion is active.
The survey also shows that Canadians are confused about how to treat their cold sores. In fact, many are using methods not indicated for healing cold sores, such as antibiotic cream (20 per cent), lip balm or moisturizer (16 per cent), canker sore medication (12 per cent), rubbing alcohol (10 per cent), or even popping the blister (3 per cent).
Dr. Kucy Pon, a Toronto based dermatologist, offers a few tips on treating your cold sores effectively and protecting against spreading them:
. Avoid kissing and skin contact with people when cold sores are present.
. Avoid sharing items like food, utensils, dishes, towels and other.
. Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently.
. Watch out for triggers: UV rays, sun burn, stress, menstruation, fever, hormones, dry lips, windburn, extreme cold, fatigue, a cold, the flu, mouth trauma, etc.
. Use a prescription cold sore treatment or an over-the-counter treatment that contains Docosanol 10% cream (an active ingredient found in Abreva) that reduces the duration of symptoms associated with cold sores and shortens the healing period.
. Target the Tingle. Try using this treatment right when you feel tingling, burning or itching, and follow product directions.
For more information ask you doctor about cold sore management.
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