Is the summer sun causing your cold sore?

Immune System Expert
Ask Dr. Jen Tan

11 August 2015

The cold sore virus

The term ‘cold sores’ came about because they were associated with the common cold. Now we know that the cold sore virus (Herpes simplex virus or HSV-1) lies dormant under the skin, and becomes active as a result of any number of triggers, not just the cold.

So what is it about summer weather that can trigger a cold sore outbreak?

7 reasons that you are getting a cold sore in summer

1. Exposure to sunlight – The rays emitted by the sun damages skin. This is perhaps the most common reason why people who are prone to cold sores suffer an outbreak. For some, even moderate levels of sun exposure can lead to the dreaded tingle

2. Chapped lips – Exposure to the sun can cause lips to become dry and chapped. Cold sore viruses are more likely to be activated in these damaged areas of skin

3. Stress and exhaustion – Lazy summer days are associated with being relaxed, but stress is sometimes not far away. The preparations which go into the annual summer holiday, or for some, weddings, can lead to an increase in stress levels. Planning trips, travelling and financial implications can all take their toll and lead to an outbreak of stress

4. Acidic food – We tend to eat more foods such as oranges, pineapple and vinegar-based salad dressings during the summer. For some, even a glass of cooling and refreshing white wine can trigger cold sores

5. Summer colds – Yes, unfortunately summer colds do happen. Colds further weaken the immune system and when our bodies are run down, cold sores are more likely to break out

6. Greasy Skin – Sun lotion can block our pores, leaving our skin more oily during the day, increasing the likelihood of an outbreak

7. Too much Arginine – This substance can be found in foods such as nuts, oats, turkey, chocolate and wholewheat.

7 ways to prevent and ease summer cold sores

1. Enjoy the sunlight

Sunlight in moderation can be very useful in drying up open cold sores, so long as burning does not take place! If you do suffer from the cold sore virus you must learn to identify when too much sun will cause you a problem. There may be a fine line between enough and too much.

2. Rest and hydrate

Ensure you allow yourself to take plenty of rest, and hydrate yourself well. As with all illnesses it is vital that we take time to rest, recover and recharge our batteries. In addition to this hydration is key. 6-8 glasses of water a day is ideal.

3. Protect your lips

Using a UV lip balm can protect from over exposure to the sun, and can also keep lips moisturised to avoid chapping. This should protect the skin and help to avoid damage and any potential breakout.

4. Boost your immunity

Vitamin C is a key antioxidant which is anti viral and can boost immunity. Try using A.Vogel’s Nature-C to help reduce the likelihood of outbreaks in the future. Vitamin C can also be found naturally in foods such as strawberries, kiwi, broccoli and tomatoes.

5. Apply some ice

Ice may assist in reducing any swelling and associated redness caused by sunburn. Make sure to apply a moisturising balm or soothing ointment afterwards to ensure the blister does not get too dry.

6. Eat well

By eating foods rich in Lysine you can also help to prevent outbreaks. Foods suggested include legumes, fish, and cheese. These foods are also rich in zinc which gives a protective effect.

7. Soothe it

A.Vogel’s Bio-Propolis Cold Sore ointment can help soothe cold sores even once they have developed. It forms a protective barrier for the cold sore, allowing you to carry on with your day while healing takes place.

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Bio Propolis - Lip Care Ointment

Lip care ointment containing propolis.
More info

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