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All I Want for Christmas is to be Cold Sore Free

ChristmasIn the absence of a proven cold sore cure cold sore sufferers just have to try their best to shorten the length of their lesions, to lessen the presence of pain and to keep good overall health both during and after an outbreak.

Of course, a good cold sore cream has a massive role to play in achieving these ends, but in an era when a large part of us are waking up to the impact of diet on everyday and long-term wellbeing, it is sometimes useful to remind ourselves just how much of an impact food can have on helping us to both avoid and minimise cold sores.

And what better time to do this than Christmas! Christmas just happens to come smack-bang in the middle of winter when climatic conditions are at the most conducive for both the spread of the cold sore virus to first-time sufferers and outbreaks for those who've already experienced at least one outbreak. Christmas also happens to involve a lot of festive eating and drinking, some of which may only serve to increase the cold sore risk.

So for our take on Cold Sore Friendly Christmas Eating, read on.

Sling the Salty Snacks

According to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, ingestion of too much salt serves to undermine immune function. Replace salty snacks with lovely fresh crudités instead. For example, carrots and other vegetables are brimming with immune-boosting vitamin A. We suggest crudités at Christmas for those who want to keep and stay well.

Manuka for Sweeter Moments

Trifle, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, sweets, chocolate, etc. – Christmas is full of sweet moments. However, as Nutrition Journal reports, sugar impairs the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria. If you must have a bit of sweetness at Christmas, why not opt for manuka honey instead. Manuka has antiviral properties and certainly has the edge over sugar when it comes to Christmas cold sore sweetness.

There'll be no Chestnuts Roasting by the Fire

Chestnuts have a high arginine content and a high arginine-to-lysine ratio so, unfortunately, will only help your cold sore prosper. The same goes for other nuts. Try Swiss, Gruyere, Blue or Edam cheese for foods that are high in lysine and have a high lysine-to-arginine ratio.

Drink Tea, not Spirits, to Keep Your Spirits Up

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that boozing increases stress hormones; bad news if you are a cold sore sufferer and want a drink at Christmas. Try rooibos tea for its stress-reducing flavonoid Aspalathin. An alcoholic drink might seem like a shortcut to stress-relief, but this is only likely to prove short-term. If you really want to beat cold sores this Christmas, put the kettle on.

Save Your Stocking Chocolates for the New Year

Chocolate may be one of your favourite foods but is, unfortunately, full of arginine, which just happens to be one of the cold sore virus's favourites. If you really don't want to develop a cold sore this Christmas, try snacking on papaya, mango or apricot instead. Or have a glass of milk, which is full of lysine.

What's Important to You?

Skipping some of the less cold sore sufferer friendly foods at Christmas might not sound like much fun, but if you really want to stay well this winter, it is recommended. But ultimately, what you choose to do will reflect who you are and what is important to you. And if you do find yourself with that tell-tale tingle, reach for your tube of Herstat cold sore cream.

NHS Likely to Stop Prescribing Cold Sore Creams

Cold sore sufferers who have grown used to receiving their cold sore treatments from their GPs will have to adapt to news that the government plans to stop funding prescription cold sore treatments as part of a move to cut back on the numbers of prescriptions it offers for a range of conditions, including dandruff, verrucas, coughs and colds and some vitamin deficiencies.

Perhaps it is an opportunity for some to look again at what's available on the market in the hope of finding the best cold sore cream for their needs, but for some of those set to lose out on the 3,000 products that will likely lose their NHS funding, things may not be so easy.

Sure, the government has to take steps to reduce the £9billion drugs bill, but the £650million saving it hopes the proposals will achieve may come at a cost for those in the most difficult financial circumstances.

More than anything, the proposals draw attention to the fact that the NHS routinely pays more for basic medicines than a customer would do if they bought them over the counter. For example, a box of paracetamol can cost as little as 35p at a supermarket but may cost the NHS as much as £34. The situation may be similar with cold sore treatments and the reality is that the NHS may not always provide the best cold sore cream for the job.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, said: "The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but we're determined to make taxpayers' money go further. The NHS should not be paying for low value treatments and it's right that we look at reducing prescriptions for medicines that patients can buy for a fraction of the price the NHS pays."

Some of the conditions affected by the proposed changes include the following:

  • Cold sores
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Cradle cap
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Infant colic
  • Diarrhoea
  • Ear wax
  • Mild indigestion
  • Malaria prevention
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nappy rash
  • Travel sickness

What Treatments Does the NHS Offer?

The NHS currently prescribes a range of tablet-form antiviral cold sore treatment medications, including acyclovir, penciclovir, as well antiviral creams, hydrocolloid-containing cold sore patches and for those who are experiencing significant pain, paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Although these treatments are often the right choice for certain sufferers, in other cases they may not be the best cold sore treatment available; sometimes individual sufferers have to experiment to find what works best for them.

Herstat, a Product That Works

Here at Herstat, we believe in our product. It can be applied at any stage of a cold sore outbreak and is available either as an ointment in a tube, for easy application, or as a conveniently sized LipCare stick.

It is based on the natural healing powers of propolis and trials have shown it to work 3.5 days quicker than a placebo during a trial, with more than 9 in 10 of participants saying they would use it again.

Enjoy the smaller things for good health

All too often, when people think of their state of health, their mind immediately jumps to focus on purely the physical side. Many of us often assume that as long as we do not suffer from a major illness, such as diabetes or heart disease, we are in good health. But thinking this causes us to overlook why it's so important to be healthy in the first place.

A new survey carried out by Bupa Health Clinics has highlighted that many people often take for granted how having good health enables them to enjoy daily life, with many – seven out of 10, in fact – not associating good health with the ability to complete their all-important everyday tasks.

As part of the survey, respondents were asked what out of their regular routine they would miss the most if they were suddenly unable to do it. Taking the top spot on the list was socialising with friends and family, with 56% saying it would be sorely missed. Also ranking high were showering and bathing comfortably, driving, eating out in a restaurant, and cooking.

But Bupa believes these little things aren't celebrated enough. The Clinical Director of Bupa Health Clinics, Petra Simic, explains how people tend not to make a connection between being in good health and the ability to complete any of the most-missed activities, only thinking about the "big scary stuff" whenever asked to consider their health. The majority of respondents believed that good health meant not suffering from a serious illness, and 40% said that the only time their health is on their mind is when they experience a problem.

That's why, to help change these attitudes, Bupa Health Clinics has launched a new campaign, which will get the public sharing their #EverydayMoments on social media, hopefully allowing them to find pleasure in small, mundane moments and realise how fundamental good health is in living a fulfilling life.

So, to truly achieve good health and live life to the fullest, you need to accentuate the positive and treasure your everyday activities.

What's more, finding happiness in the little things will help keep your stress levels under control and therefore will also help you in your fight against cold sore outbreaks. If you're a regular sufferer, then it's likely that you're already aware of one the HSV-1 virus's biggest allies: stress.

It's a well-known fact that stress is a key trigger of cold sores. Besides having an effective cold sore cream, such as a tube of Herstat, to hand whenever you feel the dreaded tingle, keeping your stress levels down is one of the best defences against an outbreak (though we understand that's easier said than done).

So if you feel as though your cold sores are getting you down, take the survey's lead and start loving your everyday moments. You could try making your own "miss" list": identify what you find most pleasurable in your daily life – activities that would be sorely missed if you suddenly found yourself unable to do them – and learn to appreciate and enjoy them a little bit more. By recognising the value of the activities you enjoy, you'll be helping to relieve feelings of worry and anxiety. You can also read our blog for more stress-busting tips to help beat cold sores.

 

Finding the right cold sore treatment for young people

teenagerThere are many children who grow up afraid to smile and, above all, terrified of the camera. The reason for this? In the absence of a trusted cold sore treatment, they suffer from recurrent cold sores and feel worried about the gaze of both friends and strangers.

Some will become expert camera lens dodgers, others will grow their hair long as a screen to hide behind, while some will become shy to the point of social phobia. It is hard enough being an uncertain and developing youngster as it is, but when you also suffer from a condition that results in sores and crusts forming on and around the mouth, these difficulties can be many times compounded.

Of course, cold sores are rarely as bad and rarely as prominent as the sufferer imagines them to be, particularly in the case of teenagers who are hypersensitive to any slight or blemish on their own personal appearance. This is not to say that cold sores can't be bad and can't be unsightly, and, without a trusted cold sore treatment, depressing. Take, for example, the globally common home scene of a teenager slumped desultorily over the kitchen table, forced to drink through a straw because of a painful cold sore.

Of course, it helps the feelings of stigma and isolation if the young person has family and friends who are in the same situation. It also helps if those in their peer group have an understanding of exactly what cold sores are, rather than a crude and rudimentary prejudice against any form of physical imperfection, especially where the schoolyard too readily and too cruelly conflates cold sores with related conditions that manifest in more private places.

Like many problems, the way to combat both the physical and psychological impact of cold sores is to take ownership of its ailing aspects and to try and find a way to become empowered in doing so. By finding a cold sore treatment that works for them – of course, at Herstat, we believe that ours is the best (and we have clinical evidence to support this view) – it is possible for young people to lessen the problem and, by doing so, to give themselves the confidence to front up for school, school photos, parties, Instagram and more.

 

Keeping cold sores away from babies

Cold sores are uncomfortable and unsightly enough, but adding a newborn baby into your social or family sphere can make you feel even more like a pariah. Nobody wants to give a cold sore to a child, but if you have a new son, daughter, niece, nephew or godchild, you are inevitably going to want to give it a welcome kiss at some point. So, how long exactly should you wait to kiss a baby if you have a cold sore?

Baby

Even if you have been using Herstat, or whatever you believe to be the best cold sore treatment for your needs, it is important to remember that cold sores are highly contagious and are notorious for spreading quickly, even when the sufferer thinks that he or she is no longer a vector.

Of course, nobody wants to spread a cold sore to anyone, even an adult, but healthy adults at least have a good level of immunity; babies, however, and particularly newborns, are not so well-equipped to stave off the cold sore virus, and can be very vulnerable to infection during their first three or four weeks of life.

As a general rule, cold sores lose their contagiousness once they have dried up and scabbed over. So, be sure to refrain from kissing any babies until you have at least reached this point. But beware, this is only a general rule, you should consult your doctor to be sure. What's more, we don't recommend kissing a baby that is not your own even if the sore has scabbed over, as we are pretty sure your scab is unlikely to fill the new parent with confidence!

If you want to hasten the end of the cold sore by finding the best cold sore treatment for you – you could do worse than trying Herstat. It's clinically proven to be more effective than any other remedy on the market.

Maybe every cloud does have a silver lining

If you're looking for a cold sore treatment that actually works, you could be forgiven for just wanting to wish the very existence of cold sores away, to fantasise that the virus had never blighted humanity.

But to do so might be premature, because, as it turns out, cold sores may actually have some use to humanity that goes beyond giving them hurt, pain, unsightly blemishes and, ultimately, the humility that goes with having experienced these things.

This is because scientists have recently been working with a modified version of the virus in order to create a cold sore treatment for skin cancer, and the good news is that it is showing signs of having the potential to actually work while having the crucial benefit of being low toxicity.

Melanoma patients at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust taking part in the trial have been administered a genetically modified version of the virus called T-VEC. The cold sore treatment involves injecting the virus directly into tumours; it then attacks the cancer cells but leaves the healthy cells intact.

The first patient to participate in the trial at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Wirral is a 67-year-old woman from Liverpool who received the injection in 2015 following a 2012 diagnosis of malignant melanoma.

This came in the wake of 20 procedures which had sought but failed to treat her skin cancer. "I am really pleased with the results. The lumps have shrunk and shrivelled," said the patient.

Although the cold sore treatment trial remains at a relatively early stage, scientists at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre believe that they are fast gaining an understanding of how it works and how it can be further utilised to stimulate patients' immune systems.

"Ultimately we hope that the research will help us identify which patients are most likely to benefit, thus helping us choose which patients to offer T-VEC to, minimising side effects while maximising treatment," said one scientist.

It may be early days, but it is great to know that even something as horrible as the cold sore virus may have its uses, though that is likely to come as little consolation next time you feel that telltale tingling and reach for the next tube of Herstat cold sore treatment.

Stopping the spread in your household

The most unfortunate fact about cold sores is how, at the present time, there is no cure. There are only ways of managing outbreaks so they're less painful and visible. The second most unfortunate (and extremely infuriating) fact is that they're highly contagious until they completely heal.

While it's true that the majority of the population has already been exposed to the virus and simply don't show any visible symptoms, you still need to be wary of coming into contact with others if you have the virus. If you do end up accidentally passing it onto someone else, they're not likely to thank you for it.

But you don't have to put yourself in quarantine in order to stop it spreading. The following simple advice will help if you're a sufferer yourself or if you regularly come into contact with a partner, housemate, co-worker, or family member who regularly suffers themselves. If everyone is aware of the ways in which to stop a cold sore spreading, then the risk is kept to a minimum.

Don't pick

You will want to avoid touching the affected area as much as possible, as this can cause the virus to spread to your fingers and possibly then to other parts of your face, not to mention make the healing process last a lot longer and potentially leave you with a scar.

Wash your hands

Even if you make sure you don't interfere with your blemish, washing your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water will help ensure that the HSV-1 virus stays off your fingers.

If you're worried that washing your hands too much will cause the skin to become dry, make sure you carry some moisturising lotion around with you.

It's not always good to share
When suffering from a cold sore, some things are best kept to yourself. Some of these may seem obvious (and you probably avoid sharing these anyway), but here's a quick rundown of the items you don't want anyone other than yourself using:

  • Glasses and mugs
  • Eating utensils
  • Towels
  • Toothbrushes
  • Lip balms/lipstick
  • Razors

No Kissing

Again, this may seem obvious, but if you're in a relationship and suddenly suffer an outbreak, kissing is off limits until the cold sore is completely healed. Your other half will surely understand. The same goes for any close relatives.

Keep it in control with HerstatHaving a tube of Herstat handy will give you the best fighting chance of keeping your HSV-1 outbreak under control.

We use the secret weapon of propolis, a natural ingredient produced by bees, in our cream which can help treat and relieve the symptoms.

In fact, if you use it early enough, you may find that your cold sore is gone before people even notice. Remember, though, that a cold sore doesn't have to be visible to be contagious (let's count that as unfortunate/infuriating fact number three), so even if you feel as though you've successfully managed to keep your latest outbreak under wraps, you should still make sure you follow the above advice every time you feel that dreaded tingle.

Just ask! Don't steal the best cold sore cure

It's amazing how many people are too embarrassed to simply go into the pharmacy and ask for a remedy for a health complaint such as piles, thrush, verrucas or a cold sore.

What is not amazing, however, is just how common such health complaints are. While, in the case of the shy person looking to find the best cold sore cure evidence of it is actually on his or her face, so the request for treatment is hardly likely to come as a surprise to the chemist behind the counter.

In fact, so common is such embarrassment that, according to the Co-operative Pharmacy, two in five patients would rather let an "embarrassing" complaint fester than seek face-to-face advice.

Fortunately, if you are looking for a great cold sore remedy, Herstat can be purchased safely and securely online; something the survey said two thirds of patients would rather do in preference to purchasing their treatments in-store.

If only someone had told a 39-year-old man from New Jersey in the United States this. He was recently charged with third-degree shop-lifting and theft after stealing, among other embarrassing ailment treatments, what he believed to be the best cold sore cure.

He now faces up to 10 years in state prison as well as a fine of $30,000.

New cold sore remedy put to the test

Cold sores – or the HSV-1 virus to be exact – have baffled scientists and frustrated many sufferers for years and years. Despite it being a very common infection, there has still been no success in finding a cure.

But a healthcare entrepreneur from New Zealand plans to change all that with a new trial, one of the largest of its kind.

The trial will involve 950 cold sore sufferers from the city of Tauranga. It will see how well medical grade New Zealand kanuka honey does against the infection.

The research will be carried out by Honeylab, a company that undertakes research into the medical benefits of honey and other bee products. The co-founder of Honeylab, Dr Shaun Holt, describes how an initial smaller study showed the honey's potential for being very effective against the virus. "The honey activates against the virus; and, perhaps more importantly, we know honey heals wounds and a cold sore is basically a very difficult wound to heal."

In order to conduct the study, the company has set up about 50 pharmacies around the country and is asking for people who have had a cold sore outbreak start within 48 hours to go to one of the pharmacies and try out the new treatment.

Holt hopes that the study will lead to a breakthrough in how people treat their cold sores:

"We're not just seeing if our product works, we are putting ourselves up against the best current treatment in the world. And we are trying to beat it."

Using bee products to try and tame the HSV-1 virus is not a new idea, however. Honey has been used to treat cold sores as far back as ancient Egyptian civilization.

In fact, bees have a well-earned reputation as nature's healers. They also produce propolis, which is the key ingredient Herstat uses in its cold sore ointment. Proven to heal cold sores faster than similar products in clinical trials, Herstat uses the best of the bees to provide sufferers with the best cold sore remedy.

Vitamins - the best cold sore treatment plan?

Although clinical trials have proven Herstat to be one of the best cold sore treatments available, the truth is that our customers would prefer to not have to rely on any form of treatment at all; as we all know, prevention is always a better option than cure.

Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of a cold sore outbreak, and although those listed below are not foolproof, they will at least help cold sore sufferers take some level of control over the virus.

Vitamin A

Many dermatologists recommend Vitamin A for the full spectrum of skin conditions, ranging from premature ageing to acne. Not only does it promote skin cell renewal, it is also thought by some to reduce post-outbreak infection rates.

However, a Vitamin A overdose can cause a toxic reaction, so supplements should only be taken on the advice of a specialist. Good natural sources of Vitamin A include carrots, swede, squash, sweet potatoes, dried apricots and parsley.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is sometimes known as the "immune support vitamin". This is because a number of studies have indicated that it may have a major role to play in strengthening the body's support against a range of illnesses and health conditions, while others have shown that Vitamin D deficiency increases a person's risk of developing herpetic sores.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has a reputation as the "healing vitamin". It can be a good idea to eat plenty of Vitamin B6-rich whole grains, garlic, mushrooms and green leafy vegetables after a cold sore in order to reduce the chances of a dispiriting "follow-up outbreak".

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is implicated in effective immune system response. Not only does it increase white blood cell numbers, it's also easy to find in food sources, from oily fish to avocadoes, nuts and broccoli.

Vitamin C

How often have we been told to eat up our oranges so that we get enough Vitamin C in order to ensure our immune systems are ready to fight off any winter bug or virus that comes our way?

What is less well-known is how useful Vitamin C is in warding off the herpes virus. Vitamin C has well-documented antiviral qualities and it is thought that becoming deficient in this vitamin can lead to increased risk of an unsightly outbreak.

Although Vitamin C supplements may be right for some people, a balanced and varied died full of fresh fruit and vegetables should be enough for most. Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries and even the humble potato are all good sources of Vitamin C.

Conclusion

For those who are deficient in particular vitamins or who are looking for a short-term boost to their vitamin levels, supplements of the above vitamins can help protect against the need to reach for a tube of Herstat; for others simply eating a balanced and varied diet that is full of vitamins A, B6, E, C and D can help prevent the cold sore virus. Vitamins, they may just be the best cold sore treatment plan.