Face cold sore facts
Around 80 per cent of people carry the Herpes Simplex Virus but not many know how to deal properly with an outbreak. The virus causes cold sores and painful blisters, so it makes sense to get clued up on treating and preventing the spread of them.
Tim Verhaeghe, Pharmacist at Sylphar, and Herpatch have busted some of the biggest myths for you.
First off, you don't have to wait for the dreaded blister to appear to be contagious. You can actually pass them on from the tingling stage, with 70 per cent of people catching theirs from a partner before they had any sign of the cold sore. So it's even more important you get a product that will help clear it up as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it's also not true that cold sores only affect the mouth. The Herpes Simplex Virus can spread to the eye or genital area. As it can lie dormant for long periods of time, you may not even know whether you carry it and could be at risk of passing it on.
Next up, how do you treat your cold sores when they do flare up? If you reach straight for the ice, step away from the freezer. It might help relieve the itching, redness and swelling if you cool the area, but it won't speed up healing.
Similarly, witch hazel won't do much for you here. It's an old wives' tale that the plant kills the virus - in fact, it will only dry out the sore.
If you're hoping for a permanent cure, we're also going to leave you disappointed. It may lie dormant, but you will still have the virus. In most cases it's brought on by something else, such as cold, stress and dry lips.
The best thing to do next time a cold sore strikes is to head straight to the pharmacy and pick up a product designed to help target the virus. Also avoid sexual contact and sharing food/drinks until it clears up if you want to avoid passing it on.