- Teenagers and Cold Sores
Teenagers and Cold Sores
Teenagers and Cold Sores
As a teenager, any sort of blemish or sore on your face can make social situations uncomfortable or embarrassing. If you are a teenager who gets cold sores, you’re already aware of the frustrations associated with cold sore eruptions. The most frustrating part about cold sores is that you can’t predict when you’ll get them, and once you do get them you can’t get rid of them until they take their course. Most frustrating of all, you don’t know why you get them and other people don’t. Besides being unsightly and awkward cold sores can be painful and cause extreme irritation. But what are cold sores? Why do you get them? How do you get rid of a cold sore? This article answers all of those questions and takes the mystery out of cold sores.
What is a Cold Sore?
Whether it’s your first cold sore or you’ve had them before, you’ve probably wondered: what exactly are cold sores? Cold sores are topical manifestations of a virus that lives in the nervous system. What that means is a virus in your body penetrates the skin and multiplies, causing an irritation or sore on the skin’s surface. The virus that causes cold sores is called Herpes Simplex Virus 1, or HSV1, and it resides in the nerve cells of the body. Certain triggers can cause the virus to manifest itself on the skin, usually on or around the mouth. The cold sore starts as a tingling or itchy feeling in the infected area and slowly swells into a blister. At this point your body attempts to attack the virus which causes swelling and eventually scabbing resulting in what we call a cold sore. Cold sores can last up to two weeks if not treated, and eventually heal on their own. The virus still resides in the nerve cells, and a new cold sore can develop weeks, months or even years later.
As a teenager, you’re probably thinking there’s no way you can have HSV1, or herpes. Don’t panic. First of all, it’s important to understand that HSV1 is an entirely different species than HSV2, which is the virus that causes genital herpes. Having a cold sore in no way means you are at risk of contracting genital herpes. Also, it may be comforting to know that 80% of all adults have HSV1. The reason this may be hard to believe is that not all people with HSV1 show visible symptoms such as cold sores. Many people have it and don’t even know it. If you are a teenager getting cold sores, you know you have it, and although there is no cure for HSV1, there are new natural medications that can reduce or even eradicate cold sores and at the same time significantly speed up the cold sore healing process. With the discovery of Lysine as a cold sore treatment, natural products like Super Lysine+ Cold Sore Treatment are available which outperform the leading prescription and non prescription treatments.
Cold sores should not be confused with canker sores, which are usually inside the mouth. Canker sores are shallow, painful sores on the inside of the lips, the inside of the cheeks, or on the gums.
What Causes a Cold Sore?
You now know that HSV1 is the cause of your cold sores. Since many people with HSV1 do not get cold sores, you’re probably wondering what causes you to get them while others don’t. Years of research and medical study has gone into cold sore causes, and it is now known that there are certain ‘triggers’ that cause a cold sore to appear. Here is a list of known cold sore triggers.
Infections, Illnesses and Fevers: If you get sick with an illness or fever, or if you have a bad infection, your immune system is compromised. Being a teenager who is experiencing extreme hormone changes, the immune system is further confused by the fluctuation of hormones. When the immune system is weakened, it prioritizes its tasks to combating the most serious infections. Because of this, the HSV1 virus is able to manifest and spread unhindered while you are sick. The result is an increase in your chances of getting a cold sore.
Stress: Believe it or not, stress is one of the leading triggers for teenager’s cold sore eruptions. We all know that being a teenager is not easy and that the stresses of school, home life and social pressures are at their peak in the teenage years. For people with HSV1, cold sores are very common during periods of stress. If you are experiencing recurring cold sores during a time of stress, it’s a good idea to talk to somebody and to try and relieve some of your stress - besides helping with your cold sore outbreaks it is also a good idea for your own well being. The ironic part about stress being a major trigger of cold sores is that as a teenager, the cold sore causes more stress!
Hormones: The hormonal changes that occur in all teenagers can trigger cold sore outbreaks, so if you are experiencing frequent cold sore outbreaks it is quite possible that their frequency will decrease as your hormones stabilize. This gives little comfort to a teen suffering from a cold sore now, which is why we will discuss proven treatment and prevention techniques later in this article.
Sun Exposure: Medical scientists have also found that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause cold sore eruptions, particularly when no UV lip balm is used. When children get cold sores from sun exposure, they are often misdiagnosed as heat blisters. This misdiagnosis carries on into the teenage years and many teenagers get cold sores and still believe they are just heat blisters.
Chapped Lips: If you find your lips chap frequently, it may be the cause of your cold sore outbreaks. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking fluids and use natural lip balms to keep your lips protected from chapping, cracking and bleeding. Some lip glosses can be the cause of chapped lips as well.
Cold Sore Symptoms
Cold sores manifest in the same manner for children, teenagers and adults. In its earliest detectable stages, cold sores usually are only apparent by a slight tingling or itchy feeling on or around the lips. The area will then start to develop a red blemish or tiny rash, usually within a couple hours of first noticing the tingling sensation. It is also at this stage of cold sore development that most people have a tendency to touch the area, which irritates it further and will cause the sore to erupt quicker and may also cause the cold sore to spread.
The next symptom of the cold sore is a reddish bump which quickly develops into a blister. The swelling is partly due to the immune system attempting to attack the virus. The blister is painful and very discomforting. The blister may last a couple days at which point it develops into a scab. Scabs can also be very painful, and can crack and bleed. A cold sore in the scabbing or shedding phase can last up to two weeks if not treated. In severe cases, cold sores can spread around the lips and onto the nose and even the eye region. If your cold sore is spreading to other parts of your face, it is important to see your physician to confirm that you are indeed suffering from cold sores at which point he will probably recommend a Lysine based product like Super Lysine+.
Treating Cold Sores
There are two types of treatment for your kid's cold sores. One is preventative and the other is reactive. There are many OITC products on the market such as Lip Clear Lysine+ that will effectively treat a cold sore. Preventing cold sores requires that you determine the foods or situations that trigger the cold sore. This is not a fool proof method. However, foods high in lysine but low in arginine may make a difference. Stress or sun can also trigger a cold sore, so using a good sunscreen lip balm when outdoors may help.
Stress Reduction: It can’t be stressed enough that the stresses of being a teenager can significantly increase your chances of a cold sore outbreak. If you are a teenager experiencing cold sore recurrences, try to relieve some of your stress while using a product such as Super Lysine+ tablets. Relieving your stress and taking preventative measures can break the cycle of stress causing a cold sore, causing more stress.
Lip balms: As a teenager, you probably spend a good deal of time out in the sun when you are out of school for the summer. If you suffer from cold sores, it is a good idea to use a lip balm with UV protection. Wetting your lips frequently or drinking fluids does not protect your lips from UV rays and does not decrease your chances of getting a cold sore.
Irritation: When you notice the cold sore forming, usually by the tingling feeling associated with the start of an outbreak, the natural reaction is to touch the tingly area. Avoid this as best you can. Touching the cold sore can not only spread the cold sore to other parts of your face and to others, but it can actually irritate the sore, causing it to get bigger, last longer and become more painful.
Are Cold Sores Contagious?
How did you get a cold sore to begin with? Where did you get HSV1? HSV1 is contagious, and because of the multiple ways you can contract HSV1, it may be impossible to determine where exactly you contracted it. HSV1 can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact with a cold sore. If someone with a cold sore wipes their lips and touches someone else’s face, or even a towel or utensil that is used shortly afterwards, they can spread the virus to another person. The HSV1 virus can live for a short time on many inanimate objects. Even if there is no cold sore present, someone with HSV1 can also transmit the disease through their saliva. Sharing a drinking glass or utensil is an easy way for the virus to spread. Considering many people do not even know they have it, it is easy to understand why 80% of all adults have the HSV1 virus. Your parent may have HSV1 and never get cold sores. When you were a child, they may have licked their finger and wiped the dirt off your face. A simple, innocent gesture such as this can spread the HSV1 virus. If you suffer from cold sores, it is best to remember not to touch your cold sores and to always wash your hands and face before sharing anything that will be in contact with someone else’s face or saliva.