So you’re looking to concoct something in your kitchen to combat the dreadful cold sore of doom huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place . I myself, and about half a dozen of my friends (cold sores are especially prevalent in Canada due to the cold weather), have experimented with literally hundreds of various home remedies over the years due to our disappointment in available prescription and drug store treatments. Here’s what we’ve found (for a detailed list with personal comments on results, check out: Cold Sores Remedies – Personal Experiences with 20 Different Remedies):
- Immediately start taking l-lysine supplements (most drug stores carry it, along with places like GNC) to the tune of 1000mg three times per day until about 5 days after your cold sore is gone, and then I’d personally recommend you continue on at 500mg daily to help prevent cold sores (myself and others feel that this really helps prevent 80-90% of cold sores that you would’ve otherwise gotten–we’ve all seen a big decrease in occurrence rate while on this supplement). For more detailed information about lysine and it’s effects on cold sores see: Lysine: Cold Sores Treatment? Dosage and How-To…
- Start taking Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12 immediately (follow label guidelines for dosage)–Vitamin C supercharges your immune system which helps immensely since it’s been proven that almost all cold sore outbreaks occur during a short phase of decreased immune deficiency, and Vitamin B-12 has been shown to help combat the specific virus that causes cold sores, Herpes Simplex Type 1 aka “HSV-1″ (to learn more about that see: What Is A Cold Sore? Basics of What A Cold Sore Is).
- Ice the cold sore once every two hours, just melt an ice cube on it for about 10 minutes. This slows down the virus’s metabolism, as well as soothes the pain and itching.
- Apply witch hazel to the cold sore using a q-tip once every two hours as well, benzyl alcohol may work better but it’s also harder to find. Some people also say that isopropyl rubbing alcohol works as well.
- Keep the cold sore clean and dry by washing it once every two hours using a wash cloth and soap–do not touch the cold sore, throw the dirty wash cloth in the laundry and use a new one each time to keep from spreading the infection.
Oftentimes you will find that if you follow this procedure, especially if you do it early enough, the cold sore will be gone or reduced greatly in size by the next day.
How the cold sore virus replicates and how to stop it
This is going to go into a bit of detail, there’s going to be a bit of science and some medical terms, but if you’ll stick with me til the end you’ll really have an excellent understanding of how this nasty little virus works and how a few simple tweaks in what you eat (most importantly: what to stop eating) and maybe a special supplement you probably haven’t heard of before (don’t worry, I’m not selling it and it’s not expensive) can not only eliminate your cold sore in a day or two but also prevent them from every coming back again. Let’s get started…
What causes a cold sore?
A cold sore is an outward symptom of an outbreak of the Herpes Simplex Virus (usually Type 1, aka “HSV-1″, although HSV-2 can cause oral herpes) usually due to a decreased in immune function, a very common cause of which is exposure to cold weather hence the name “cold sore”. To the left you will see the culprit: that’s HSV-1 magnified 169,000 times by scanning electron microscope–growl at it or flip it the bird if it makes you feel better
The herpes virus remains dormant in the sensory nerve cells of your face until an outbreak, and no, sorry, there’s no cure: once you’ve been infected, you’ve got it for life. It’s almost always going to be the type 1 strain (HSV-1) of herpes that causes oral cold sores, however cases of HSV-2 causing them have been documented, so it’s possible, although rare. However, 1 in 6 cases of genital herpes are causes by HSV-1 (genital herpes is usually associated with HSV-2), so that’s somewhat more likely, although the old axiom that if it’s above the waist it’s HSV-1 and if it’s below the waist it’s HSV-2 does still generally hold true.
How Did I Originally Get Infected? Or: WHY GRANDMA WHY?!?!
Studies have shown that, the vast majority of the time, oral herpes is transmitted most commonly in someone’s youth when they are kissed by a relative who’s infected and suffering from an active cold sore outbreak–yeah, that sucks. This is especially likely if you started getting cold sores when you were a small child, which would mean that you were infected when you were very young and therefore most likely acquired it from close contact with an infected relative suffering from an active outbreak. If you acquired it later in life then something else is probably the cause, most likely that you acquired it from an intimate partner through physical contact i.e. kissing someone with a cold sore.
Cold Sore Treatments, Medications, and Remedies
There’s a great variety of treatments that myself and my friends have tried over the years: most of us originally went the prescription-combined-with-OTC (over-the-counter) route where we were prescribed something like Acyclovir or Valacyclovir and then used an OTC cream like Abreva. Over the years we’ve found (myself included) that the best those can do is to shave 1 maybe 2 days off of an outbreak, and that’s about it. We’ve found, through trial-and-error between us over the years, that there are more effective remedies you can put together in your kitchen. Not only that, but there are preventative measures that you can take which will often prevent a cold sore outbreak altogether from happening again, ever, from supplements like l-lysine and Vitamin B-12 to minor but hugely effective little diet changes like avoiding vinegar at certain times because it lowers your blood pH levels and creates an environment much more favorable to the virus replicating and wreaking havoc on your face.
pH Levels, Oxygen, and Stopping the Virus Cold in Its Tracks
The Herpes Simplex Type I virus that causes your cold sores has a very narrow pH range that its environment must be within for it to be able to live and reproduce (by the way, pH is just how acidic or basic something is–acids have a low pH and bases, such as lye, have a high pH) your body’s own pH range can easily sway into this territory from time to time due to a number of factors, the most common causes of which are stress, decreased immune function, certain foods, lack of sleep, and excess sunlight–now, where have you seen these factors mentioned before? Probably in an article you read about the most common triggers for cold sores, right? Even if you haven’t read about it I’m sure you already know it anyway because you almost certainly would have noticed it: your cold sores tend to occur when you’re stressed out, when your immune system is down (this most commonly occurs when you’re ill or when it’s very cold out), when your diet changes (usually in an unhealthy way, such as the addition of junk food you weren’t eating before), when you’re not getting enough sleep, etc., right?
The reason for this is that when you allow these things to happen to you, you’re creating an environment that is the most favorable for the virus to reproduce and live in (it’s when the virus starts suddenly massively reproducing that you get cold sores) by altering your normal pH level for the worse and making it very difficult for your immune system to keep the virus at bay, which it does most of the time, which is why you don’t have cold sores most of the time–your immune system is doing it’s job, it’s only when you make it difficult for it to do its job that problems start to pop up. So, essentially, if you can get your pH level back to normal then the cold sores vanish (this is a bit of an oversimplification, but I just don’t have the room here to explain the whole process). Plus, if you just follow a couple simple guidelines concerning diet and cheap, over-the-counter supplements, you can possibly prevent them from ever coming back, or at least make them very rare (most people who follow the program described below will go several years between cold sores, which is usually a huge improvement for them). Now, how do you do that?
My friend Derek, after a couple years of experimentation (primarily on himself! he suffered horribly from cold sores for years) and some consultation with several doctors and herbal specialists, came up with a program he shared with me a couple years back that took some things we already knew about how to get rid of cold sores (taking l-lysine, avoiding stress and too much sunlight, yada yada) to a whole other level, I mean I was just completely blown away, what he originally showed me was a multi-page, super-detailed program he came up with that utilized a few small (as in they won’t inconvenience you) adjustments in diet that make a big difference primarily involving what not to eat, along with a combination of several herbal supplements (one is l-lysine, but the dosage is different from what you’d normally take since you’re combining it with other supplements) including a new one I’d never heard of called “cat’s claw” that came from some weird tree bark in the Peruvian rain forest, plus a couple others that, when combined, have a very powerful and immediate effect on your body’s pH level and can quickly bring the Herpes virus to a dead halt, but they have to be combined just right in the correct dosages, plus your diet has to be right because if you’re eating any of the several things that can throw off your pH level then it might not work. He’s currently put together a fantastic 84-page report you can get here (it’s pretty easy reading, you can get through it in a couple hours, no worries) that I highly recommend you check out, just listen to what the guy has to say, he knows what he’s doing believe me. I wish I could just give the whole thing to you here, but it’s 84 pages long and there’s just no way I can fit that into a blog post, plus he won’t let me due to copyright issues (I asked already, in fact I had to be careful about how much I gave away to you here about his method!).
I just can’t tell you how much of a difference this has made in my life, I used to suffer from cold sores nearly every other month, it was horrible: cold outside? cold sore. hot outside? cold sore. job-related stress? cold sore. the flu? cold sore bonus, yay! have trouble sleeping? cold sore. I haven’t had one in nearly 3 1/2 years now, and it all started when I first got that e-mail from Derek detailing something he spent years testing and researching and months writing the rough draft. At the time I had a terrible outbreak, two on my mouth and one just on the edge of my nostril, and they were gone in 48 hours, never to return. I follow his simple guidelines about not eating certain foods when I’m especially susceptible to cold sores (I’m stressed, not getting enough sleep, feeling a little under the weather, etc.) and I always take my daily supplements (3 little pills, which are good for you and have multiple other benefits, plus they’re cheap as dirt from my local drug store). If I feel a cold sore coming on, that familiar little tingle, I up the dosage to the level he recommends for when you actually have a cold sore (quite a bit higher than the normal dosage you use to prevent them) and then the tingle goes away and I never see a cold sore pop up, works every time. Again, just for your own benefit I’d recommend you check out his site and see what he has to say, it’ll take 5 minutes, that’s it: go here to learn how to eliminate cold sores in just a day or two and keep them from coming back ever again.