In the 1960s "Batman" series, Mr. Freeze, played by Otto Preminger, blasted Robin and Batman with his freeze gun. It was great fun. But when the herpes simplex 1 virus blasts its DNA into your cells (with more pressure than a car tire), the resulting cold sore is not very amusing, especially when you have to face the world with it playing a starring role on your lip.
Around 60 percent of folks in North America between the ages of 14 and 49 carry the cold-sore virus, and the sores do come and go (there's no known cure). Seems that when your immune system has to fight off other infections, it's less able to suppress this one, and you get a flare. Your best protection is to keep your immune system strong.
- Get plenty of vitamin D-3 (1,000-2,000 IU a day), and get your blood levels checked so you can adjust the dose to what you need.
- Take probiotics so that gut bacteria help you fight the good fight.
- Enjoy regular physical activity (10,000 steps a day) and eat an anti-inflammatory diet that avoids the Five Food Felons (added sugars and sugar syrups, any grain that's not 100 percent whole, all trans and most saturated fats).
For treatment of flares, tune in to clues that one's coming (burning or tingling at the future site), and act fast to cut it short. Use antiviral cream containing docosanol or acyclovir, or a combination of 5 percent acyclovir and 1 percent hydrocortisone. There also are antiviral pills. And concealing patches or medical makeup can make you feel less conspicuous as the sore heals.