Did you know that 90 percent of Germans carry the herpes virus (type 1)? In itself, that's not too bad - unless the virus breaks out. Then you are unfortunately one of those affected who have to deal with herpes at regular intervals. Usually, the cold sores are announced by a burning, pulling or tingling sensation. Sometimes the lip just tightens. This is the prodromal phase, a kind of precursor to the cold sore. The entire process can be divided into five stages:
From infestation to healing
Lip tingles, itches or tights
Small bubbles form
Herpes is an open wound
The blisters slowly crust over
The herpes heals again
Have you ever noticed that cold sores appear on your lips whenever you are under stress or have a cold? In fact, the virus preferentially breaks out as soon as your immune system is weakened. But strong sunlight can also cause you to get herpes. There are even people whose cold sores only appear when they are disgusted by something.
In the prodromal phase, the number of viruses is still low, so you should start treatment as early as possible. The sooner you fight cold sores with an antiviral, the fewer viruses will form - which can inevitably affect how long the outbreak lasts and how long it takes to heal. Over-the-counter preparations are available for the treatment of herpes: There are ointments that contain docosanol, zinc or lemon balm extract. However, you only inhibit the viruses, but cannot prevent them from multiplying. Much more effective and recommended by dermatologists is a herpes cream that contains antiviral agents (e.g. aciclovir and penciclovir). Although you cannot stop the herpes, you can prevent the virus from multiplying. These include preparations such as Zovirax, aciclovir and pencivir. The latter cream has the advantage that it is tinted and therefore does not catch the eye as much when applied to the lips.
Important: Herpes is highly contagious. This applies not only to your fellow human beings, but also to you. The fluid contained in the cold sores contains the transmissible viruses, which can also multiply through your chin and nose. If possible, try not to touch the herpes with your hands and always use a clean cotton swab to apply the cream. This keeps the wound clean so that no bacteria or dirt particles can collect in it.
There are a variety of products on the over-the-counter market that can be used to prevent cold sores. This includes the electronic herpes pen Hypotherm: According to the manufacturer, you can already curb the first signs such as tingling, burning or itching - only through the effect of heat, without any chemicals. Contact with the herpes pen is said to have a positive effect on histamine and degradation enzymes. In plain language, this means: The upcoming inflammation is stopped.
Another method of preventing herpes is to take lysine: as soon as you notice the first signs, you can take the capsules regularly with some water - this should prevent cold sores from forming in the first place. Since every body reacts differently, there is no guarantee here. The same applies to so-called herpes patches, which are stuck to the affected area at the first tingling sensation and are therefore intended to prevent or at least contain the outbreak.
Last but not least, there are also special products that have been developed to care for and protect herpes-sensitive lips - such as the ilon lip cream. On the one hand, it contains the sun protection factor ten to protect your lips from the sun's rays, on the other hand, it is intended to nourish and care for your lips before and after the herpes outbreak. The same is true of Sanct Bernhard's lip balm, which is enriched with manuka oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, bisabolol, marigold extract and shea butter.
If you feel that the number of cold sores increases drastically and the herpes is even spreading over your face (e.g. chin or nose), it is better to see a dermatologist. He can give you prescription pills that fight the virus from within. These also help with severe swelling caused by herpes viruses. If the cold sores break out more than six times a year or last longer than ten days, it is also advisable to see a doctor.
There are many home remedies that are falsely advertised as a cure-all, such as toothpaste, alcohol, or vinegar. However, you should never use these ingredients to treat cold sores, as they dry out the skin and thus counteract the healing process. The following home remedies are more suitable for prevention:
Honey is known for its antiseptic properties. It is important, however, that it must not be applied to open wounds, i.e. you can only use it before the first cold sores form.
Tea tree oil is also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect. To prevent herpes, you can dab the oil on the affected area with a cotton swab when you feel the first signs.
Lemon balm can also be used against herpes in the form of creams or oils. The active ingredients it contains are said to be able to help reduce swelling and redness.
Even cloves are said to help relieve cold sore symptoms. This is made possible by their antioxidant and antiviral active ingredients, which are applied to the skin as a secretion of the crushed cloves.
This article contains so-called affiliate links. There is more information here.