Thursday, September 21, 2023

Why Does Stress Cause Cold Sores

How Do You Get Cold Sores

Dermatologist explains causes of cold sores

According to the Mayo Clinic, cold sores are most contagious when oozing blisters are present. However, its important to remember that you can still transmit HSV-1 to others even when youre not showing signs or symptoms. Here are some helpful tips to avoid passing on the HSV-1 virus or coming into contact with it:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others while blisters are present.
  • Avoid sharing items that have come into contact with your saliva like utensils or lip balm.
  • Keep your hands clean.
  • Prevent an initial HSV-1 infection in children by preventing anyone from kissing them who has signs of fever blisters.

Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication if you frequently develop cold sores or if youre at a high-risk for complications due to a weakened immune system. Sunblock is also useful if sunlight triggers a recurrence.

To help avoid future cold sores, it’s essential to replace your toothbrush after the cold sore goes away. The virus that caused your cold sore can live on your toothbrush for days, and if you brush your teeth with this contaminated toothbrush, your lip could become re-infected. To avoid a hasty repeat of your outbreak, discard your old one.

How To Stop Getting Cold Sores

Dealing with cold sores is never a pleasant experience. Thus, its understandable to see many finding the best approach to stop the outbreak. Below are a few simple actions to curb it.

  • Do not expose yourself to conditions that can trigger cold sores. This includes stress, cold, flu, or hot sun.
  • Consider the use of lip balm and sunscreen, especially during the summer.
  • Do not share towels, silverware, toothbrushes, razors, or any personal items with people who are treating cold sores.

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What Triggers Cold Sores

Certain triggers can cause the virus to become active, resulting in the blisters called cold sores. These triggers differ from person to person. Possibilities include:

  • Emotional or physical stress Stress can lead to a weakened immune system, triggering a cold sore outbreak.
  • Fatigue Exhaustion or feeling run down can allow the cold sore virus to reactivate.
  • Illnesses such as , a cold or a chest infection
  • Surgery or injuries to the skin
  • Over-exposure to sunlight UV radiation from the sun may suppress the immune system and give the cold sore virus an opportunity to reactivate.
  • Exposure to strong winds
  • Hormonal changes from periods or birth control pills
  • Consumption of certain foods and/or alcohol

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Can Stress Cause Cold Sores

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. As if we needed something else to stress over! Alongside internal factors like anxiety, hormonal changes, and exhaustion, stress is a common condition that can trigger the development of cold sore symptoms. 1 Because prolonged stress levels can weaken the immune system 2 and shifts in immune function can trigger the dormant cold sore virus, you can experience a cold sore outbreak even without coming into physical contact with bodily fluids. 3 Whats more, those who have weakened immune systems are also more susceptible to complications from the cold sore virus.4

Triggers For Cold Sores

Why Stress Causes Cold Sores to Resurface  Naturopathic Doctor News ...

In some people the HSV infection causes cold sores, which erupt following a trigger event such as a cold. This explains the term cold sore. Other triggers that may cause an attack of cold sores include:

  • feverish illnesses, like influenza, or chest infections
  • hormonal changes, such as the menstrual period
  • emotional or physical stress.

It is important to remember that cold sores are a symptom of ongoing infection rather than a new infection. The sores usually recur in the same place.

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What Are Canker Sores

Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are shallow white lesions with inflamed pink borders that occur inside the lips and mouth. The sores are typically 1-4 mm in size, but complex sores can be larger than 5 mm.

Though they are often confused with cold sores , canker sores are not contagious. Raw canker sores make it challenging to eat, sleep, and speak even with traditional therapies, they often take weeks to heal.

Cold Sores And Stress

Written and verified bythe psychologist.

15 November, 2021

Most of us have experienced it at some point. When you go through a time of excessive pressure, worry, or anxiety, you may notice a terribly painful cold sore on your lip. Herpes labialis, commonly known as cold sores, are a common condition triggered by stress. But most importantly, they prove that our emotions can alter our physical health and organic balance.

The most common type of cold sore is herpes simplex , a viral infection that, once it appears, always remains latent. Its enough to have a little fever or to go through a few days of or stress for those small but annoying cold sores to appear. However, there are also other types of herpes that can come alongside stress, anxiety, or depression.

Theres research on the impact that herpes zoster or genital herpes can have on people with a mood disorder. All of these connections make it essential to delve much deeper into the relationship between the immune system and emotional disorders.

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What Are The Best Ways To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore

Unfortunately, theres no cure for cold sores, and it can take between two to four weeks for a cold sore to heal on its own. But, there are things you can do to make them go away faster.

Here are three things that can help soothe a cold sore or make it clear up faster:

1. Try home remedies. When used early, there are several remedies that can help ease the pain and reduce swelling and may even shorten the duration of a cold sore:

  • Cold, damp washcloth
  • Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen

2. Apply topical creams and ointments. There are a few over-the-counter anesthetic ointments and creams that can help control pain, such as lidocaine or benzocaine. Some products, such as those containing docosanol or benzyl alcohol, may even promote faster healing when used early and in plentiful amounts.

3. Take prescription medications. There are antiviral drugs that can help cold sores heal faster, including acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir and penciclovir. If youre having frequent outbreaks or experiencing some of the serious side effects of having a cold sore, your doctor may consider prescribing antiviral medication.

To get rid of a cold sore quickly, the best thing you can do is start treating it as soon as possible, says Dr. Brown. A burning or tingling sensation on your lips or face can be an early warning sign that a cold sore is developing, and the earlier you start reducing swelling and treating the cold sore, the faster it will heal.

What To Do If You Have A Cold Sore

What causes a cold sore?

Cold sores usually clear up on their own in seven to 10 days, but ask your pharmacist for over-the-counter anti-viral creams, which can speed up healing time and ease discomfort. Its crucial to use them at the first sign of a tingle.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen can also help with pain and swelling.18

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Managing Your Stress & Preventing Cold Sore Outbreaks

As much as wed love to tell you to just stop being stressed, we know thats not possible. Stress is normal for every person, and sometimes, life throws us things that overwhelm us. Thats perfectly fine! However, its when your stress levels begin to spiral out of control that is cause for concern. This is also what can trigger an outbreak.

The first step in addressing your stress levels is understanding what causes you to be so on edge.

When you find out what causes this stress, you can look for ways to reduce it. Go through your daily life being as mindful as possible, paying attention to what changes your mood or makes you feel uneasy. Write them down. Then, look at whats triggered you throughout the week. This can then help you see what places, foods, or even people you want to avoid, as they may be contributing to these triggers.

Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may help in reducing your stress levels.

Yoga and meditation are practices that are great for grounding yourself and appreciating the moment youre in instead of being stressed about the future or past. The moment that yoga provides can also help bring some flexibility and comfort to your daily life, enhancing your mood, and lowering those levels of stress overall.

Take care of your mind and body.

Get Plenty Of Sleep For Better Physical And Mental Health

Americans are notoriously sleep deprived, but if you have genital herpes, buck this unhealthy trend. Getting plenty of quality sleep affects every aspect of your life your physical and mental health, performance at school or work, and appearance.

To improve your sleep , follow some quick tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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What Can You Do About Stress

If youre getting recurring cold sores this is probably an indication that you are a bit run down, stressed and working too hard. It can be a good reminder to look after yourself!

Tackle stress at the root

You firstly need to figure out whats causing you so much stress is it young children, a stressful job, an unpleasant commute, exams, or financial problems?

Find some ways to reduce whatever problem is causing you stress. Ask friends or family for some help with children, speak to your managers/team about your workload, or consider moving jobs altogether! Taking some time to fill out planners and to-do lists can be a great way to get your mind organised and keep on top of things.

Some people find that they are just generally stressful people, who find it difficult to relax and cope with minor stressors. This can make finding one source quite difficult.

Helpful herbs

Stress-relieving herbs help to provide extra support as you work through your stress. They are particularly useful when there isnt much you can do to reduce stressors such as during exam time or if you are a generally on-edge person who is easily stressed out by even minor things.

Try our own AvenaCalm which contains avena sativa or the slightly stronger Stress Relief Daytime which contains both valerian and hops.

Look after yourself!

You should take some steps to support your body through stressful times! Eating well, getting some exercise and taking plenty of time to rest are good places to start.

How Do You Get Rid Of A Cold Sore

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Although it may take a while to get rid of a cold sore, some medicines can shorten the healing time and make the symptoms less painful. Cold sore treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter medications: You can buy without a prescription creams or ointments that you apply directly to the cold sore. If you start using these creams when you first notice tingling or itching before the cold sore forms you may be able to prevent the cold sore from appearing.
  • Oral antiviral medicine: Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication that you take orally .
  • Intravenous antiviral medicine: If other medications arent working, your doctor may need to prescribe an antiviral medication that will be administered through an IV. In this case, your doctor will monitor you closely throughout treatment.

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How Can You Prevent A Cold Sore From Coming Out

Dr Hussain says: After you have been infected with the virus, there is no certain way to prevent further cold sores.

However, there are some measures you can take that may help to stop them from coming out.

She advises: When you have a cold sore, make sure to wash your hands often, and try not to touch your sore. This can help keep you from spreading the virus to your eyes or genital area or to other people.

Keeping your health optimal can help prevent a cold sore flare-up. Make sure to have a healthy balanced diet which includes plenty of fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of fluids to keep well hydrated. Get regular exercise 3-5 times a week. Try to get plenty of rest and adequate sleep.

Try to manage or reduce stress. Self care can mean different things to everyone. Try to apply your version of self care into your lifestyle daily. Incorporate relaxing routines into your daily routine. Use lip balms to keep your lips well hydrated and to avoid cracked lips.

The British Association of Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen on your face and lip with at least an SPF30 UVB protection, and 4 out of 5 stars UVA rating. Optimise management of medical conditions. Speak to your GP about any chronic conditions and review your care plans.

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Tips To Help Manage Cold Sores

  • Always wash your hands after touching a cold sore and avoid touching broken skin.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes if the infection reaches your cornea, it could damage your sight23
  • Be extra careful around babies their immune systems are undeveloped and infection can lead to neonatal herpes, which is potentially serious.24
  • Never have oral sex when you have a cold sore the same virus can also cause genital herpes.25
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    How To Eliminate Cold And Cold Chills

    Generally the best way to alleviate the cold is to do the same thing that you always do when youre cold dress warmer. If you need to, turn on the heat in your home. Even when your cold is caused by anxiety, its still cold like any other, and the warmer you are the less cold youll be.

    If youre hyperventilating, you need to adjust your breathing to allow your body to regain healthy carbon dioxide levels. If youre just experiencing cold chills, theres very little you can do chills are a lightning fast response that you simply need to wait out, and eventually they should go away.

    Unlike other symptoms of anxiety, body heat and cold sensations are not something in your control. If your anxiety is activated, these are feelings that youre going to experience whether you want to or not, so the best way to cure them is to make sure you suffer from less anxiety.


    Anxiety can cause sweating, changes in blood pressure/blood flow, and other issues that can all lead to feelings of chilliness, cold, or shivers. Typically, once the cold sensation occurs, there is very little to do to control it, but in the long term, anxiety management is needed to stop frequent or recurring cold feelings.

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    Cold Sore Treatment That Cuts Healing Time In Half

    How to treat cold sores

    When a healthy lifestyle and focus on minimizing stress is not enough to keep cold sore outbreaks from occurring, know there are health products to help treat your blisters. If you need swift and soothing relief, look no further than our oral care products at Quantum Health. From our Lip Clear Lysine+ cold sore treatment to our line of SuperLysine+ products, we have what you need to get relief from the pain and inflammation of cold sores.

    While a cold sore outbreak is never fun, there are ways to lessen the impact. When minimizing stress is not enough, Quantum Health oral care products can treat the sores and have you feeling better, and get you back to normal in no time.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Canker Sores

    You may have a canker sore if you have:

    • A painful sore or sores inside your mouth on the tongue, soft palate or inside your cheeks.
    • A tingling or burning sensation prior to the appearance of the sores.
    • Sores in your mouth that are round, white, or gray in color, with a red edge or border.

    In severe attacks, you may also experience:

    When Are You Contagious

    From the time your skin turns itchy or red, the virus is likely present and you can spread it. Youâre most contagious when blisters show up and just after they burst. Once your skin is completely healed and looks normal again, you canât spread it that way. But you can still pass the virus through your saliva at any time, even when you don’t have a cold sore.

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    Herpes Caused By Stress: How To Treat It

    The treatment of herpes due to stress always involves understanding one crucial aspect. To date, we still dont fully understand the mechanism by which these types of viruses work. However, their main characteristic is that they often remain dormant and appear unexpectedly.

    Making them disappear is almost impossible and, thus, you might end up getting used to them popping up when youre sick, when your defenses are low, or when you have an emotional disorder. Thats why the most important thing you need to do is take care of your physical and emotional health.

    Good nutrition, protection against sexually transmitted diseases, and regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are the best options. However, having some basic strategies to deal with daily stress is also essential. Heres some simple advice.

    • You must practice good mental hygiene. In other words, watch what you think and say to yourself. Negative inner dialogue and irrational thoughts are two of your greatest enemies.
    • You must learn to solve problems before they pile up. Facing daily challenges with calm, security, resolve, and originality can help you.
    • Relaxation, meditation, and breathing techniques are very healthy everyday habits.
    • Having someone to talk to, enjoying moments of leisure, and having time for yourself is essential to achieve a sense of well-being.

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