Common Triggers and Causes of Cold Sores

Posted June 1, 2012 by admin in Cold Sore Facts

Just because you’ve been infected with the cold sore virus, it doesn’t mean that you will have an outbreak of cold sores. The herpes simplex virus will lie dormant within your body, waiting for a trigger before an outbreak occurs.

The bad news about the cold sore virus is how easy it is to transmit. But the good news is that with some care, you can avoid cold sore outbreaks and shorten any cold sore outbreaks that may occur.

Everyone has different triggers and there are many different causes for outbreaks of cold cores, but most of them have in common the fact that your body is stressed out in some way. Viruses love to attack your body when you are weak and your immune system is vulnerable.

And just as everyone has different triggers, some people have more outbreaks than others. By trying to identify the causes of your cold sores and avoid these triggers, you’ll be better able to try reduce the number of your cold sore outbreaks.

Recognizing your cold sore triggers will also mean that you’re able to stop cold sore breakouts and heal cold sores fast.


1. Fevers and Illness

There’s a reason why cold cold sores got their name – outbreaks of cold sores usually occur when your are sick and suffering from another infection, like a cold or flu.

If you’ve got a fever and have raised body temperature, try to reduce your fever by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen and reduce your chance of a cold sore outbreak.


2. Intense Sunlight

Sunburnt lips are prime candidates for cold sore outbreaks. Many people suffer from cold sores on the lips and around the mouth, and cracked and sunburnt lips are the ideal spot for cold sores to surfaces.

Prevention is the best defense here – make sure to use plenty of sunscreen and high SPF factor lip balm whenever you’re outside and will be exposed to the sun.


3. Cold Weather

Just as the sun can damage your lips, so can cold and dry weather. Once your lip cracks, it’s easy for the HSV-1 virus to attack, and make a painful situation worse.

Using a lip balm regularly will keep your lips moistened and will help prevent damage to your lips.

With cold sores ready to attack in both sunny and cold weather, it makes sense to be prepared. Using a lip balm regularly is an easy way to prevent outbreaks near your mouth.


4. Stress

Stressed out lately? It might seem unlikely but this can also cause a painful cold sore outbreak.

Trying to reduce stress in your life is one way to reduce cold sores recurring. At times of stress your body is drained, tired and not functioning at full capacity. With your immune system under pressure it’s the perfect time for the cold sore virus to attack.

There is also a huge amount of medical evidence that reducing stress is beneficial to your health and happiness, so reducing stress in your life is a win-win.


5. Lack of Sleep and General Fatigue

Just as stress can trigger a cold sore outbreak, so can fatigue and over-tiredness. Cold sores often occur when you’re not feeling your best.

Many students suffer from cold sores during times of intensive study and examinations. The combination of stress and fatigue weakens the body’s immune system, making it a target for cold sores to flare up.

Mothers with small children are also susceptible to cold sore breakouts. Lack of sleep affects your immune system, and the less sleep you get the greater the chance for the cold sore virus to attack.


6. Menstruating

For many women with cold sores, the virus can be more active around their monthly period. The hormonal changes and the emotional stress during this time can trigger cold sore outbreaks in women.

Knowing when your period is due and taking measures to reduce your stress levels at this time is one way to help prevent cold sores.


7. Pregnancy

The huge hormonal changes and stressed to women’s bodies during pregnancy can often trigger an outbreak of cold sores.

It doesn’t matter if you’re glowing or feeling drained during your pregnancy, it seems that this is a favorite time for an unwelcome cold core outbreak.


8. Damage to your face

Just as cracked and chapped lips are an invitation for cold sores to appear, so are any facial injuries.

The skin tissue around the lips and mouth are especially delicate and any damage to this area and cold sores are always waiting for an opportunity to show their ugly face.

The skin damage can be relatively slight – something as small as “stubble rash” on women from kissing their partners – through to more serious injuries such as from visiting the dentist for a tooth extraction or other serious procedure.


9. Stay Healthy

Maintaining a strong and healthy immune system by eating lots of immune-boosting foods can reduce the recurrence of cold sores.

A healthy balance and nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is key to this. Ensure you have sufficient levels of vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc and iron in your diet. Garlic and the amino acid lysine also help boost immunity and suppress HSV.