Herpes simplex virus is one of the most common chronic viruses in the world. The virus is mostly harmless, but can cause cold sores, which are tiny fluid-filled blisters that are painful and unattractive. Fortunately, you can do something about cold sores. If you have this virus there are some easy steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of getting a cold sore:

1. Avoid stress

The easiest way to avoid causing an outbreak of cold sores is to do nothing at all. Well, not doing nothing, but avoiding doing stressful things. Stress is shown to lower the immune system. If your immune system is knocked down by stress the virus gets its chance and a cold sore appears. If you have a life and are unable to spend your days binge-watching Netflix to keep cold sores at bay, meditation, exercise, deep-breathing, and yoga have all been shown to reduce the amount of stress people experience.

2. Use sunscreen

You already know to use sunscreen to avoid wrinkles, but using sunscreen can also reduce the chances of getting a cold sore. The reason is again your immune system. UV radiation is linked to lowering the immune system which gives the virus a chance to thrive. So, if you want to avoid a cold sore using sunscreen daily is an easy method to reduce the chance of getting one.

3. Apply lip balm

When you apply sunscreen don’t forget your lips. Using a lip balm with sunscreen can keep a cold sore at bay. However, even without sunscreen lip balm can help. It keeps the virus from fusing with the cells keeping the cold sore from ever forming.

4. Don’t share personal items

The ick factor isn’t the only reason you shouldn’t share a toothbrush with another person. Sharing a toothbrush, especially with a person with an active cold sore, transfers the virus to your mouth increasing the likelihood that you too will get a cold sore.

5. Over-the-counter viral medications

So you meditated your way through binge-watching Netflix while covered in sunscreen and lip balm, but somehow you still got a cold sore. The best thing to do is treat it with an OTC viral medication. Any medicine with lysine in it will reduce the duration of a cold sore. Lysine can also be used to prevent a cold sore. Topical applications like Abreva treat cold sores, but if you take one gram of lysine orally it can reduce the incidence of cold sores by one-third. Just make sure you buy a version of lysine that is meant to be taken orally. The topical applications are not designed for that.

Cold sores are not something that anyone looks forward to. They are painful and don’t look very good. You can’t stop living when you have a cold sore so using these methods will reduce the number of times you have to go out with a painful bump on your lip. Making your life better.