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How to Stop Cold Sores

Avoid Oral Sex
About 10 percent of oral herpes infections in adults result from oral-genital sex with a person who has an active cold sore. These infections, however, usually do not result in repeat bouts of cold sores.

Preventing Recurrent Cold Sores

If you have a history of cold sores, you may not be able to completely prevent them from returning. However, there are some things that you can do to decrease the chances of them returning. This includes the following:
  • Use sunblock
  • Know and control your triggers.
Use Sunblock
For people with cold sores that are triggered by sunlight, herpes research scientists have confirmed that sunscreen on the lips can stop sun-induced recurrences of cold sores. They recommend applying the sunscreen before going outside and reapplying it frequently during sun exposure. The researchers used a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 in their studies.
Know and Control Your Triggers
There are a number of triggers besides sunlight known to increase the risk of developing a cold sore. This includes such things as:
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Fatigue
  • Injury.
(Click Cold Sore Triggers for more information.)
Controlling these triggers through lifestyle changes may help decrease the chances of developing another cold sore. This might include things such as eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise and rest.

Stopping the Spread of Cold Sores

If you have a cold sore, there are also some things that you can do to decrease the chances of spreading the virus to others. This includes the following:
  • Avoid kissing people or touching the sores and then touching another person
  • Wash your hands after contact
  • Do not share utensils, napkins, towels, toothbrushes, or any other objects that have touched the cold sore
  • Be careful not to touch the sores and spread the virus to new sites, such as the eyes or genitals
  • Avoid performing oral sex.

Cold Sore -- Information

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