Cold sores or fever blisters are painful infections caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They may show up anywhere on your body, but are most likely to appear on the outside of your mouth and lips, nose, cheeks, or fingers. Blisters ooze a yellow puss and a crust or scab develops. Eventually cells sloughs off, revealing new skin. There are two types of HSV, type 1 and type 2. In general, HSV-1, also known as herpes labialis, causes infections above the waist, most commonly as oral “cold sores.” HSV-2 infections occur mainly below the waist, leading to genital herpes. However, both types of HSV are capable of infecting the skin at any location on the body.
One cause if fatigue. Like stress and illness, fatigue weakens the immune system. Lack of sleep is also implicated as your body does not have the time it needs to rebuild. Stress wears down your immune system. You should protect yourself from the cold as it can make the condition worse. Some people notice more of a problem during monthly female cycles.
Painful blisters appear near the area where the virus entered. In between attacks, the virus resides deep in the roots of the nerves that supply the involved area. When herpes simplex lesions appear in their most common location, around the mouth and lips, people often refer to them as “cold sores” or “fever blisters”
There are several medications a doctor can prescribe to slow the process of herpes and cold sores.
Avoid foods rich in the amino acid arginine, which can activate the virus. These foods include chocolate, cola, beer, grain cereals, chicken soup, gelatin, seeds, nuts and peas. Change your toothbrush frequently. Use SPF 15 sunscreen before going out in the sun. Keep your hands clean. Take monolaurin, an antiviral supplement you can get in the health food store. Cream containing the amino acid lysine applied directly to the cold sore can help as well. Taking L-lysine can reduce the frequency of attacks of oral herpes in some people. Take 500-1,000 milligrams a day on an empty stomach to prevent recurrence.