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How To Prevent Cold Sores

Say good-bye to cold sores
They’re uncomfortable and always unwanted. But unfortunately, the itchy, blistery bumps—caused by the herpes simplex I virus—are a common fact of life for many.

But they don’t need to be. Follow these simple tips to fight flare-ups, reduce swelling, and even avoid the virus in the first place.

Look at his lips
If your partner has a cold sore, you may want to hold off on the lip lock: Cold sores spread through contact with someone who has them.

Slash stress
Bad news: If you’ve had one cold sore, the virus is still in your system. One way to stop it from rearing its head? Reduce stress—which lowers your resistance to disease, leading to an outbreak.

Stay out of the sun
Excessive sunlight can result in outbreaks, because, like stress, it weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to disease. If you can’t stay locked up in your house all day, always wear a lipbalm with SPF 30, and wear a hat or visor when you’ll be outside for a while.

Already have a sore? Apply your lipbalm with a cotton swab—otherwise you could spread the virus to the rest of your lips.

Ice it
Apply ice to it to reduce the swelling.

Take small bites
Don’t do anything to aggravate your cold sore—like opening your mouth wide. If it breaks open, it could spread to the rest of your lips.

Sleep upright
Use extra pillows to elevate your head. The height helps blisters drain, so that fluid doesn’t settle overnight.

See a doctor
If the cold sore is truly intolerable—or you’re breaking out frequently—ask your doctor for Zovirax, a prescription medication that fights the virus.

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