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Reduce stress to help your immune system

Cold sores tend to develop when your immune system is weakened. This is because, at these low points, it is easier for the HSV-1 virus to replicate, since your body's defences don't put up as much of a fight as they would normally do.

 There are many factors which can cause a weakened immune system – such as illness and exposure to UV rays – but one which might not be as easy to avoid is stress.

The link between stress and the immune system is a difficult one to research, since a stressful situation for one individual is not so stressful for another, and people's ratings of how stressed they are is subjective. Stress is a difficult emotion to define for the purpose of scientific study.

Nevertheless, through various experiments, it has been found that mammals put under social stress (such as being placed near an aggressive animal but not physically harmed) produced fewer lymphocytes and antibodies to fight antigens and viruses. It was also noted that the production of antibodies for certain viruses was delayed.

Stress-busting tips

To reduce your risk of suffering an outbreak due to stress, we have compiled a list of advice for how best to combat the feelings of pressure.

Steer clear of unhealthy habits

When you're feeling stressed, one of the worst things you can do is drink alcohol, smoke, or undertake any other unhealthy habits. These activities can result in more stressful situations, and can in fact cause you to feel more anxious, tense, depressed, or angry.

Stay active

Exercise can reduce the amount of stress you feel because it triggers the release of endorphins – chemicals which lower your perception of pain and can result in positive feelings. The cause of your stress might still be present, but exercise can help you deal with it better.

Be social

Whether you meet with friends or family, telling someone about your problems might assist you in coping with them better. Receiving support from people who care about you can go a long way to calming sensations of anxiety, and being given a different viewpoint on your difficulty, as well as advice on how to tackle it, could lead to the issue being resolved more quickly.

Me time

Sometimes you may feel stressed for no other reason but for the fact that you are overworked. It is important to take time for yourself and relax. Having a short holiday, away from work, could help reduce your stress. You might also want to talk to your employer about how you are feeling as they should be able to help you manage your tasks more efficiently, or offer another solution to the problem.

Have a positive outlook

In many situations it is surprising just how much an optimistic outlook can help to reduce stress. Recognising that the position you are in is not the be all and end all in your life, and that you have many things for which to be grateful for can be a very efficient stress buster.

Use Herstat

Sometimes, however hard you might try to avoid the start of a cold sore outbreak, you will suffer one anyway. Thankfully though, Herstat's cold sore treatment could substantially reduce the symptoms of pain, shorten the duration of the outbreak, and help to reduce swelling, redness and dry skin.

To read more about our clinically proven treatment, please click here.

Alternatively, to purchase a tube of Herstat (for use during an outbreak), or a LipCare Stick (for protection in between outbreaks), please click here.