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You woke up with a cold sore and what started out as a tingle is rapidly growing into ick and ow. It feels like your lip is the size of a super-painful tennis ball. Smiling is unbearable, your body feels run down with malaise, and you just want to stay at home and hide your face. Maybe you should. A cold sore may be a warning sign from your beloved body to slow down and take a breather.
By age 40, nearly everyone (90% of us) has been exposed to the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), which causes cold sores. Although most of us are infected as children, many will never show symptoms. For those who do—about 40% of the American population (you know who you are)—cold sores are the pits. Also known as fever blisters, this painful viral infection might erupt anywhere on a person’s body, but will most likely appear as fluid-filled blisters or red, painful sores on the mouth, nose, cheeks or fingers.
When HSV-1 enters the body, it makes itself at home, camping out in the cranial nerves near the spine. Generally triggered by outside stress, such as exposure to sunlight, menstruation, improper diet, illness or emotional distress, the virus will occasionally awaken and a cold sore will appear. Fever-y, flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes may accompany an outbreak (especially the first attack of a cold sore, which is generally the worst). This nonsense will typically last for 7-16 days.
There is no known cure for cold sores (yet), but you can alleviate the pain of them, speed the healing process and maybe even prevent them with a little Information and Self Care.
A Herp-less Diet
Lysine is an essential amino acid that we get from food or supplements. It is a building block of protein, which helps produce infection-fighting antibodies, enzymes, hormones and body tissues. Lysine has been found to inhibit the spread of the herpes simplex virus. What seems to be most influential is the ratio of lysine to its competing amino acid, arginine. The two amino acids battle it out for absorption in the intestines, so the less arginine there is in the diet, the more lysine is absorbed. In addition to taking a lysine supplement daily (try Super Lysine + from Quantum Health, which also contains the immune-boosting herbs olive leaf and astragalus), eating foods that are rich in lysine and avoiding foods with high levels of arginine may help to keep herpes at bay.
Medical research in England found that many people with cold sores were low in B12 and that by adding 250 mcg of B12 the condition improved rapidly. This research also suggested taking B complex supplements with emphasis on the B12 and folic acid.
Daily Meditation Practice
If you have a daily practice of slowing down and checking in, you may be able to catch the signs of stress before they lead to an outbreak. Check yourself daily to see if your body feels too fatigued to sit in meditation, if you have too much on your mind, or if you feel run down. Then listen and take active measures to rejuvenate.
Here are some ideas for getting your zest and radiant health back:
Take a healthy day. If you can prevent a sick day by taking a healthy day instead, do it. Spend your healthy day reading a book that has been waiting on your shelf or taking a stroll in the sun. Catch up on “chores” you like to do. Or visit with a friend you never get to see.
Listen to peaceful music. Surrounding your space with the sweetness of soothing music can be healing on all levels of your Being. Some of my favorite ‘healing artists’ are Deva Premal, Ariana Saraha, Donna Delory and Sting.
Go to yoga class or do a video at home. Yoga has been shown to decrease stress levels and elevate the hormones that promote wellness. Plus, it’s fun!
Take more baths. Set aside one night a week to soak. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that bathing can boost the body’s immune system and alleviate stress. Use bath salts that boost these benefits, like Relax Salts by Little Moon Essentials, which contain rose, chamomile and lavender flowers for “elevating mood” and “alleviating stress.”
Get a massage. Get 50% off your first visit to hOMe Yoga Spa. That is an hour massage for only $30.
Speedy Healing for Your Skin
The absolute best topical ointment I have found for a cold sore breakout is Lancer Gel from Epicuren Discovery.
It is a natural herbal extract made from select citrus seed bitters and pure aloe vera. When applied to the skin or nails, it naturally inhibits the growth of fungus, mold, bacteria and viruses. It works like magic to heal the skin quickly. Use it every day, from day one, until the blister begins to scab.
Then apply Epicuren’s Propolis Serum Moisturizer. This amazing pure Corigem Propolis from the rainforests of Brazil has recently been proven by doctors and scientists to help build immunity and resistance toward infections, ulcers, viruses, stress, burns, fungi and other harmful agents. Propolis helps boost the immunity of the skin and protect the skin from complications during healing. It will accelerate healing and help the skin repair itself while keeping it moisturized to prevent cracking.
When just a little redness is left, apply pure vitamin E oil which will help prevent scarring and protect your new skin from the sun.
The silver lining: some studies have shown that those who get cold sores may be less likely to contract genital herpes. That is just one, of many, reasons to smile.
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