COLD SORES & CFIDS
I hate cold sores!!! I've been getting them all of my adult life - first around the lips and then on my nose! Aaarggh!!!!! They are huge and ugly! I usually get them from too much stress, getting run down, too much sunshine, eating a forbidden food (chocolate, nuts, seeds, etc.) or when battling a viral illness. I have tried many remedies, but only a few of these actually help--
L- Lysine ("combined" formula)
Nail Polish Remover
Zinc (by itself)
Essential oils (experimented with many
Dynamiclear (topical liquid - will turn your skin blue)
Baking soda in drinking water (for alkalization)
Compeed Cold Sore Patches
Here's my personal history of dealing with this ongoing problem. Maybe some of these ideas will help others who battle chronic cold sores.
Years ago, I had to start taking large doses of Acyclovir daily (an anti-viral medication that's bad for your kidneys) to prevent cold sores.
Then in 2009 I found additional help by putting oxygenating drops in my drinking water. (Write email@example.com for brand name and tips.) The oxygenating drops help make your body more alkaline, which prevents viruses from doing their dirty work. A surprising benefit was that when I began using the alkalizing drops, my fibro brain fog and CFIDS debilitating exhaustion nearly disappeared. I began living a relatively normal life. (See links at the end of this page to read my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue stories.)
One time when a cold sore got horribly infected, my doctor prescribed Bacitracin Zinc Ointment USP and it worked great! A newsletter reader also suggested putting a tiny bit of household bleach on a Q-tip and applying it carefully to the cold sore. She said she got this tip from a friend who is a nurse. (Just shows how desperate we are to get rid of these disfiguring sores!....ugh!!!)
Something natural that helps viral problems is Cat's Claw, an herb that BOOSTS immune function. I experimented with this herb by stopping oral Acyclovir "cold turkey" and began taking 2-3 tablets of this Cat's Claw formula whenever I felt the "tingle" (a sign that a cold sore was about to break out). The tingle would often go away immediately. Although expensive, it was nice to have something natural that could help me, and not have to rely solely on drugs.
I eventually had to stop taking oral Acyclovir because even at the highest dose (such as for shingles: 3,200 mg per day), it stopped being effective for me. :(
The next thing I tried was Abreva (over the counter topical cream) which was sort of effective, and so was DMSO cream, but the best thing I found around that time was topical Acyclovir cream. However, the cost here in the U.S. is ridiculous: $319 for a tiny tube! And without my prescription card, the cost would have been $439! So I went online and found overseas companies selling this very same product for $6 per tube. I ordered from one of these places and got 3 tubes for $19 plus shipping. No prescription was needed and it worked great for awhile.
Sadly, the outbreaks eventually resumed, and my doc put my on Valacyclovir (generic Valtrex): 2 grams twice a day for the first day, and 1 gram twice a day until the outbreak was clear, then 500 mg daily for viral suppression. It worked for a short time, then stopped. Arrrgh!!!
Then I found some essential oils (therapeutic grade) that cleared up several ongoing cold sores: Bergamot, Peppermint, Manuka Oil and Thieves. They worked for at least a month, and I was really glad to have discovered them! The only negative was that Bergamot discolors skin. Then even these stopped working (boo hoo, but don't worry....I'm getting to the best thing I found at the end of this article).
Avoiding cold sore triggers for me is the most important tip. The triggers for me are: walnuts (too much arginine), chocolate, peanuts, sugar, seeds, and citrus. I also have to keep my stress levels down (yeah, right!), and go to bed and rest immediately if I feel an outbreak coming on. I also have to stay out of strong sunlight.
A nice discovery for me was the Cold Sore Begone stick, invented by Robin Barr. Whenever you feel the "tingle," apply the balm. It's sort of like chapstick, except with many helpful ingredients like essential oils. You can also use it as a preventive, and it has worked well for me. However, since I began using Cold Sore Begone, I have also cut out nearly all processed sugar from my diet, and I think this has helped very much.
Two more really helpful things I use now are the Combined Lysine Formula from Dynamiclear and various immune boosters, such as either Red Marine Algae or Immune Support with Andrographis, Olive Leaf & Echinacea (the latter one made by Nature's Sunshine).
The BEST and most AMAZING thing I have found lately is to put 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 16 ounces of drinking water twice a day. I have had NO COLD SORES since I began doing this! What a cheap remedy! The baking soda helps with alkalization (pH). It could be that whenever I got too acidic, viruses would take over. I also resumed using a bit of rose-scented DMSO cream on the back of my neck and on my cold sore outbreak areas if I feel even the slightest tingle. I occasionally still use the oxygenating drops mentioned above (20 drops in 16 ounces of drinking water), and I still take 1 Quantum Super Lysine tablet with meals, and 1 Red Marine Algae capsule daily (expensive, quality brand). These measures have kept me cold sore free for several months.
UPDATE 4-6-16: Well, a lot of time has passed since I wrote all of the stuff above. EVERYTHING HAS FAILED! The only thing that works for me now is taking 3g of Valtrex (Valacyclovir) daily. I take three 500mg tablets in the morning and three 500mg tablets at night. I have been on this high dosage for about a year now, and it is foolproof! The doc says I need this because of my compromised immune system. (I've had CFIDS since 1987.) I can eat forbidden foods in moderation now (chocolate, nuts and seeds). I can even be out in the sun for awhile. Not only does the high dose of Valtrex daily help my chronic cold sores and shingles problem, but it has also kept me from catching every virus going around. My health has been much improved this past year. I am so grateful for this merciful drug. I don't know how long I can stay at this dosage, but so far so good. (Lower doses did not help, as noted above.) When needed, I use Compeed Cold Sore Patches (available on amazon or ebay), and they are WONDERFUL too!
The herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) which causes cold sores is a nasty thing to deal with, so I'm thankful for pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, alkalizing agents, and lifestyle changes that help me manage this problem.
I hope this information has been helpful to anyone who suffers from chronic cold sores.
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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. I am a fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue syndrome survivor. The purpose of this website is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought. This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information in this website.