Today your favourite panda wakes up with a redness on his lip. He has herpes labialis (also called cold sores) and asks for advice.
1. Act as soon as you get the first signs
During a herpes outbreak, it is necessary to act as soon as you get the first symptoms, e.g. a sensation of burning, tingling or scratching. Quickly apply an antiviral cream based on aciclovir or docosanol to relieve the pain and reduce the duration of the symptoms. Depending on your preferences, patches can also be used instead of creams with the same benefits.
If you have nothing else available, applying cold on the lesion (for example with an ice cube) can help reduce redness and irritation.
2. Ease the pain
If required, take a painkiller such as paracetamol to reduce the pain during the healing process.
3. Avoid contamination
To reduce the risk of contamination, do not touch the cold sore. If you have to touch it, to apply a cream for example, it is necessary to wash your hands immediately thereafter. Hand washing should be repeated regularly throughout the day.
Additionally, refrain from kissing relatives, especially children. Using a patch can provide additional protection as it helps isolate the lesion, thus reducing the risk of contamination.
Finally, do not share dishes, glasses and personal items such as bath towels, lip sticks, toothbrushes or razors. Replacing towels and bed sheets can also help prevent recontamination once the cold sore has healed.
4. Protect from the sun
Cold sores should be protected from the sun during the entire healing process. The use of a lip balm with a high sun protection index is recommended.
5. Avoid recurrences
Once the herpes virus is present in the body, it remains there for life and can resurface.
Recurrence is generally triggered by situations such as severe fatigue or stress. Thus, a healthy lifestyle is essential: go to bed early to avoid fatigue, exercise regularly and relax to avoid stress. The sun can also cause recurrence. The use of a sunscreen and lip balm is therefore recommended.
Finally, lysine,which is an essential amino acid available as a dietary supplement, has shown a beneficial effect in the prevention and treatment of herpes outbreaks, reducing the number of flares and the severity of symptoms. The usual dose recommended in the prevention and treatment of herpes outbreaks is 3000 mg per day.
See a doctor ?
A relapse of cold sores is generally not serious and healthy people usually recover within 5 to 15 days. However, a doctor should be consulted if the wound is severe or does not heal, or if you frequently experience herpes outbreaks. Finally, do not rub or touch your eyes during a herpes outbreak. If you experience pain in one eye or if it becomes red, immediately seek medical assistance.
List of products recommended by DocPanda if you are suffering from herpes :
DocPanda selected these products, usually sold in pharmacies, for their effectiveness. In addition, they are quickly deliverable. For even faster delivery, you can sign up for Amazon Prime and be delivered on the day after your order.
1. Cream, 2. Patch, 3. Lip Balm, 4. Sunscreen, 5. Lysine – supplement
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More information :
- American Academy of Dermatology, Cold sores, https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/cold-sores, accédé le 25 avril 2017
- Karlsmark T, et al., Randomized clinical study comparing Compeed® cold sore patch to acyclovir cream 5% in the treatment of herpes simplex labialis. JEADV. 2008;22 :1184-1192.
- Kirsner RS, et al., How to manage recurrent orofacial herpes simplex virus-1 lesions. The Pharmaceutical Journal. 2009;283:187-190.
- Griffith RS, et al., Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Treatment and prophylaxis. Dermatologica. 1987;175(4):183-90.
- Roberts JJ, et al., Prophylaxis Against Herpes Simplex Virus Reactivation in Patients With Facial Burns: A Potential Role for L-lysine. J Burn Care Res. 2013 Nov-Dec;34(6):e368-9.
Important : this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult a health professional for any personalized medical advice.