Winter weather can be harsh on delicate skin, especially on your lips. People prone to cold sores are more likely to have an outbreak during the winter months, and they can be painful to deal with, especially when coping with other seasonal ailments such as colds and flu, which can all take a toll on your immune system. The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores. Once you have the virus, it can remain dormant for years but can cause an outbreak of cold sores when reactivated.
What Triggers a Cold Sore Outbreak?
Sometimes there is no apparent reason for an outbreak, but they can be triggered by infections, hormonal changes, stress, fever, exposure to sunlight, and cold weather. The triggers can vary from one person to another, but cold sores are fairly common during winter. If you are prone to developing cold sores during the winter months, it’s worth looking out for other triggers that you can avoid to help prevent an outbreak.
Staying Healthy to Prevent a Cold Sore Outbreak
During the winter months, you are more vulnerable to developing colds and flu, and both these can cause a fever. Therefore, it’s good to take extra precautions to prevent sickness. Whenever you go out, make sure you have adequate clothing to keep you warm and cosy, helping to protect your immune system. It’s important to remain well hydrated and drink lots of fluids, particularly water, to help your immune system function properly. Also, drinking plenty of water and remaining well hydrated helps protect your lips from the drier air due to winter heating. Ensure you wash your hands regularly to prevent you from catching colds and flu. If you don’t have access to soap and water, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with you. Finally, make sure you eat a nutritious diet, get plenty of sleep, and try to keep your stress levels low.
The winter months are a great time to relax indoors, so make the most of these months to catch up on your sleep and ensure you feel well-rested. The more you can avoid stress and fatigue, the less likely you will have a cold sore attack.
Take Precautions When out in the Wind and Sun
The harsh wind and winter sun can be tough on your lips, drying them out, and this can be a real problem for anyone prone to developing cold sores. When you go out, make sure you wear a good quality lip balm that contains a high SPF to protect against sunburn. Although it might be winter, the sun’s rays can still be damaging.
If you have an outbreak, act quickly, and one remedy is to use ice for temporary pain relief. Icing the cold sore can also help reduce swelling and redness. Another is to use a warm or hot compress to help reduce inflammation. You can also ask us for help and advice when you feel that first tingling sensation.