Cold sores are a common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. They can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, illness, and exposure to sunlight. While cold sores can occur at any time of the year, they can be particularly troublesome during the summer months when sunlight, heat, and humidity can exacerbate outbreaks.
In this article, we will provide 10 tips and tricks for surviving summer with cold sores.
1. Protect Your Lips from Sun Damage
One of the most common triggers for cold sores is exposure to sunlight. UV rays can damage the skin on your lips, leading to cold sores and other skin irritations. To protect your lips, wear a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher and reapply every few hours, especially if you’re swimming or sweating.
2. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for your body to fight off cold sores. During the summer months, it’s especially important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol which can dehydrate you.
3. Avoid Foods that Trigger Cold Sores
Certain foods can trigger cold sore outbreaks, including chocolate, nuts, and acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits. If you’re prone to cold sores, try to avoid these foods or limit your intake.
4. Keep Your Lips Moisturized
Dry, cracked lips can make cold sores worse and increase the risk of infection. Keep your lips moisturized with a lip balm or petroleum jelly to prevent dryness and cracking. Avoid licking your lips, which can make them even drier.
5. Treat Cold Sores Early
If you feel a cold sore coming on, it’s important to treat it early to prevent it from getting worse. There are a variety of over-the-counter creams and ointments available that can help reduce the severity and duration of cold sores. Look for products that contain antiviral ingredients like acyclovir or docosanol.
6. Use Ice to Reduce Swelling
Cold sores can be painful and swollen, but applying ice can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Hold a cold, damp cloth or ice pack against the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time, several times a day.
7. Avoid Touching Your Cold Sores
Cold sores are highly contagious, so it’s important to avoid touching them or picking at them. This can spread the virus to other parts of your body or to other people. If you do touch your cold sore, wash your hands immediately and avoid touching other people or objects until you’ve washed your hands.
8. Get Plenty of Rest
Stress and lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and trigger cold sores. During the summer months, it can be tempting to stay up late and enjoy the warm weather, but it’s important to get plenty of rest to keep your immune system strong.
9. Take Steps to Reduce Stress
Stress can be a significant trigger for cold sores, so it’s important to take steps to reduce stress in your life. Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Make time for activities you enjoy, such as spending time with friends or pursuing a hobby.
10. Know When to See Your Doctor
In most cases, cold sores will go away within a week or two. However, if you have frequent or severe outbreaks, or if your cold sore is not healing, you should see your doctor. They may prescribe antiviral medication to help reduce the severity and duration of your cold sores.
Get Rid of Cold Sores with Your Kids Urgent Care
Cold sores can be a nuisance at any time of the year, but they can be particularly troublesome during the summer months. By following these tips and tricks, you can help prevent cold sore outbreaks and manage symptoms if they do occur. Remember to protect your lips from sun damage, stay hydrated, avoid trigger foods, and treat cold sores early. With some care and attention, you can survive summer with cold sores.
If your kids suffer from cold sores this summer, don’t hesitate to bring them to Your Kids Urgent Care. We provide urgent care for children in Tampa, FL, and other key locations. Please call us for more information.