Born and raised in Texas, my professional background is in case management, in pediatrics as well as in mental health. Writing is my hobby.
Did you know that it's possible to prevent the cold sore virus from resurfacing? Even if you've suffered past outbreaks, if you are diligent and make a conscious effort to avoid your triggers you can prevent future outbreaks. Sound hard? It isn't difficult, but it does require an effort to make certain changes in your lifestyle. I still get occasional outbreaks myself, but I know exactly what caused them, and if I had been more careful I could have prevented them.
Protect Your Immune System
Any weakening of the immune system gives the herpes virus the chance to attack. Remember, the virus is always present in your body, so it jumps at the chance to surface when your immune system is compromised in any way. Keeping your immune system as strong as possible will keep the virus from returning.
Make sure you get plenty of Vitamin C and other immune system boosters, and not only will you promote overall good health but also prevent the virus from having a chance to attack. There are certain things that weaken the immune system and can trigger an outbreak.
There are also other types of immune system boosters that are available at the local grocery store or nutrition store, like Echinacea. Echinacea comes in capsules that you can take on a daily basis to promote a healthy immune system. For more information about immune system supplements you can always talk to a local pharmacist or someone at a nutrition center. You can also speak to your doctor about your concerns and ask if they can recommend something natural to help beef up your immunity to disease and infection. Simple precautionary measures such as these will help reduce the risk of developing an outbreak of fever blisters.
There are tons of things that could trigger an outbreak, so in order to prevent them you have to be proactive and avoid them, or take precautionary measures to protect yourself. Once again, it all boils down to having a healthy immune system, as these triggers tend to operate most effectively within the context of a weakened immune system. The herpes virus sits dormant in your body, waiting for a chance to attack. Avoiding these common triggers to help decrease the chances of developing an outbreak:
Sun Exposure: Always carry the highest SPF chapstick sunblock for your lips when you are planning on getting a lot of sun. One of the worst outbreaks I've ever had came from sunburned lips! It was horrible and now I never leave home to go swimming or rafting without sunblock for my lips.
Chapped Lips: Severely chapped lips can trigger an outbreak. Your lips are already damaged at this point so it is best to leave them alone and not to irritate or lick them. It's best to use chapstick or ointment on your lips to prevent them from drying out even further and weakening your defenses even more.
Stress: Yes, it is even possible to get fever blisters from stress. This is one of my main triggers for an outbreak. When I get stressed out, I can almost always expect to get a fever blister. For me it is a double-edged sword because then I stress out MORE over the fact that I might be getting a fever blister. This one is a no win situation for me...I usually just hope I don't get one when I'm feeling stressed. Stress weakens the immune system and allows the virus to surface.
Lack of Sleep: This can also weaken the immune system or indicate an underlying trigger of a different nature--like stress. It is important not to go without sleep for too long because once the body gets fatigued, the immune system is again in a weakened state. I know from personal experience that I can't stay awake more than 72 hours without expecting to get a cold sore.
Colds and Fever: This is almost a no-brainer, but since the immune system is the main thing keeping the herpes virus from resurfacing it makes sense that when you are sick, it is likely that you could develop a cold sore. Your immune system is already compromised so the herpes virus has the perfect conditions to resurface. Colds may or may not trigger an outbreak depending on how well your immune system can fight them off. Fever, on the other hand, is much more of a risk due to the fact that your immune system is working twice as hard already. Taking some form of immune supplement when you are around sick people can help, like Echinacea.
Alcohol Consumption: I'm not talking about knocking back a few beers or having a few shots at the bar. I'm talking about really overdoing it with strong liquor. When I was in college I went to Mardi Gras for 2 days with barely any sleep (literally like 2 hours of sleep) and drank a few frozen drinks with Everclear (90 proof) alcohol in them and the next day I had fever blisters covering both lips. It was so bad I had to go to the doctor about it and he told me it was from the alcohol being so strong and lowering my immune system.
Anticipating an Outbreak
If you can learn when to anticipate an outbreak, there are things you can do to prevent the outbreak from happening. For instance, if you are stressed out, drink a gallon of orange juice or take some immune system boosters to keep your defenses up. If you know that the chances are are right for an outbreak you can stop it in its tracks. Of course, this isn't always possible, and eventually you will have another outbreak—but knowing what to avoid and how to protect yourself will lessen the chances. I only get a fever blister once every couple of years now that I know what triggers them for me. If by chance I do get one though, I don't stress out about it and make it worse, because I know that I can get rid of it within 3 days by using a technique covered in my article How to Pop a Fever Blister and Other Cold Sore Remedies.
The best weapon against fever blisters and cold sores is knowledge. If you can change bad habits and take precautions when necessary, like eating a few extra Vitamin C tablets when you haven't had much sleep, you can reduce the number of outbreaks you have. You just have to be aware of your body and make a conscious effort to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Another Great Article on Fever Blisters
Do you have other tips to share? If you know of other ways to prevent the onset of cold sores and fever blisters before they happen, please share your experiences and pass on the knowledge to others.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 crissytsu
peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 31, 2020:
When I have blisters or cold sores, I eat lots of tomatoes, herbal teas and drink more water.
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on September 21, 2019:
Informative article. I believe your statement about changing bad habits as a significant way to control outbreaks is right on. Enjoyed reading this. Thank you.
Sandy on July 15, 2018:
When you first feel the tingling of a pending cold sore, apply ice and continue icing for as long as you can-hours if circumstances allow. this stunts the replication of the virus.if you do still get a sore, it will likely be less severe and go away more quickly.
EKing, DDS on May 11, 2016:
When I feel the beginning of an outbreak, usually soreness in lip, I immediately take 1000mg. of Rx Valtrex ( acyclovir) , and sometimes follow up with 500mg 6 to 8 hours later. This actually PREVENTS the lesion from even appearing. Sometimes, the symptoms will begin to occur a day of two later, and I just repeat the treatment. Works great!
yooper on April 30, 2014:
Personally i get cold sores anytime i have too much vitamin C. Any days of taking it in a row and bam i have one. Too much orange juice, that does it too.