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Ways to Prevent Recurrent Cold Sore Outbreaks

It is bad enough suffering from cold sores periodically, but for those who suffer from regular, recurrent outbreaks, the effects can be psychologically depressing.

Unfortunately, there is no easy or guaranteed way to prevent outbreaks, but it is true that there may be steps you can take to reduce the possibility of an outbreak and certainly to prevent the infection from spreading to the people around you.

The conventional route

For a long time medical professionals have sought to achieve cold sore treatment with antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. These have been shown, whether taken orally or in some cases topically, to have some efficacy in shortening the duration of symptoms. However, such treatments all come with potential side-effects and are the kind of powerful pharmaceutical solutions that many people may wish to avoid and, unless you are an immuno-compromised individual or similar, are not likely to be recommended for use as a preventative.

The supplement route

Much has been made of the role of the amino acid lysine in preventing recurrent cold sores. Lysine hinders the activity of arginine, another amino acid but one that is known to assist the growth of the cold sore virus. However, it is not yet clear whether lysine is an effective supplement for inhibiting the growth of the cold sore virus in humans – studies on the subject have proven inconclusive. In fact, a Cochrane study into cold sore treatment was unable to establish any evidence of the efficacy of lysine in preventing recurrent cold sore outbreaks. Nonetheless, many cold sore sufferers anecdotally report benefit from taking lysine supplements. Others, however, focus instead on ensuring a healthy lysine to arginine ratio in their diet.

The hygiene route

Good hygiene will not eradicate the cold sore virus from your body, nor will it prevent you from suffering recurrent outbreaks. It will, however, help to prevent the cold sore virus from spreading to other parts of your body or from being passed on to other people. As such, it is always a good idea to try the following:

  • Don’t touch the cold sores unless you're applying your cold sore treatment
  • Wash your hands well before and after applying your cold sore treatment
  • Never share cups, cutlery, dips, makeup or other potentially contaminated items when you have a cold sore
  • Never share your cold sore treatment
  • Don’t kiss anyone when you have a cold sore
  • Take extra care to ensure no newborn babies, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems come into contact with the virus

The natural route

Propolis is a 100% natural substance made from the resins collected by honeybees. It has proven antiviral properties and is the active ingredient in both Herstat’s Cold Sore Care Ointment and its LipCare Stick with Propolis AC.

The LipCare Stick is designed to assist in the prevention of recurrent outbreaks and to reduce damage due to UV-A and UV-B radiation. Many of the product’s users report that it prevents frequent cold sore outbreaks while also helping their lips to feel and look great. If you’ve not tried Herstat before, it is certainly worth seeing if it works for you – in one clinical trial of the product, 93.9% of the participants (all of whom had unknowingly used our effective treatment), stated they would use it again.