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Seven Top Tips to Help Prevent a Cold Sore

Just because you can’t keep cold sores from coming back, doesn’t mean you’re powerless to reduce their frequency.

In fact, once you understand your cold sore triggers, there are some straightforward, practical steps you can take to limit how often they return.

Here are seven ways to help prevent frequent cold sore outbreaks:

  1. Manage your stress.  Stress is a known cold sore trigger.  Everyone has “stress” to some degree, but if you have cold sores, it is extra important to adopt strategies to reduce your stress so that you can lessen the likelihood of a cold sore breakout.
  2. Practice general wellness by eating properly, getting adequate daily exercise, and sufficient rest and sleep.  These practices have been proven to boost the immune system and are particularly important if you have cold sores.  A weakened immune system makes you more susceptible to a cold sore breakout.
  3. Know your own triggers and limit or mediate exposure to them.  For example, if sunlight causes your outbreaks, make sure to limit your sun exposure and apply an SPF lip balm and sun block with broad spectrum protection before going out into the sun.
  4. Take precautions around someone who has a cold sore by refraining from kissing, oral sex or sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, towels or facecloths, cutlery, drinking glasses, etc. Also take these precautions when you have a cold sore.
  5. Always keep treatments on hand that work best for you - products or remedies that you know from experience help heal your cold sore and relieve your symptoms quickly.  Having them available at all times keeps you prepared to initiate treatment as early as possible to have the most success.
  6. Prescription medication. If you suffer regularly from cold sores or have severe outbreaks, talk to your doctor to see whether prescription anti-viral treatments make sense for you.
  7. Don’t touch the cold sore, and if you do, wash your hands. This will help prevent the virus from spreading further. To help avoid contact with your cold sore, consider covering it up with a cold sore patch, such as the POLYSPORIN® Cold Sore Healing Patch.

If you don’t currently suffer from cold sores, but are concerned that you might be at risk of developing cold sores because someone close to you has the HSV-1 virus, be sure to practice preventative measures to help reduce your risk.  Avoid intimate contact such as kissing someone with a cold sore, and do not share things such as cutlery, glasses, towels, razors or toothbrushes.