Cold sores are the last thing you want to deal with, especially if you have an important event coming up. Painful, swollen and red, they can certainly lead to extra attention – for all the wrong reasons.
However, these unsightly groups of blisters don't have to ruin your day permanently. Instead of waiting for these cold sores to heal on their own, you can help the process along with an amino acid boost in the form of lysine.
The herpes simplex virus
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, also known as HSV. There are two forms of the virus, called HSV-1 and HSV-2.
HSV-1 is the main cause behind those blemishes that sprout on the lips and mouth area (although it can also cause genital herpes), while HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital herpes (although it may also infect the mouth, less commonly).
The symptoms of HSV-1 are easily seen, as they manifest on the body through small and painful fluid-filled blisters located around the lips or the edge of the mouth. You may also experience some tingling or burning around the mouth/nose area before the blisters physically appear.
Further symptoms associated with the HSV-1 virus include a fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
For HSV-2, the symptoms include a tingling sensation felt in the genitalia, buttocks and thigh area while small red blisters or open sores appear on the genitals and inner thighs. Unlike HSV-1 symptoms, these blisters may or may not be painful to the touch.
A fever, headache, muscle aches and pain during urination will also be experienced as symptoms of the HSV-2 virus. Lymph nodes may also be swollen, this time in the groin.
Usually, the first signs of these symptoms will be found in the tingling or painful sensation around the affected area, the onset of a fever or sore throat and the swelling of lymph nodes.
This will be followed by the appearance of the blisters, which will then break open and leak the fluid inside before crusting or scabbing over to heal – a process that can typically take up to two weeks.
Once you have the virus, you may experience outbreaks of the symptoms several times a year – although as time goes on, you will experience an outbreak less frequently. They can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress and a cold or flu.
Overexposure to sunlight can also trigger herpes and cold sore symptoms, so it’s important to ensure your face is well protected with sunscreen and lip balm.
Transmission of the herpes simplex virus and the effects
The HSV-1 virus is spread through saliva, which you can come into contact with through kissing, sharing utensils and personal items with someone with a cold sore. The HSV-2 virus is transmitted sexually.
The herpes simplex virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes, such as inside the mouth, and it is carried via bodily fluids such as saliva and semen.
Aside from the physical discomfort, people who contract either form of the herpes simplex virus can suffer from psychological effects too. The social stigma attached to the virus can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment and fear – but it’s important to know that the symptoms of oral herpes are actually experienced by a lot of people.
Even though there is no cure, careful treatment and management of the symptoms is definitely possible and can help to greatly reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
Preventing and managing virus symptoms with amino acid lysine
If you want to take more of an active role in treating, preventing and managing cold sore symptoms, a supplement boost such as lysine can help.
Lysine or L-lysine is an essential amino acid that is vital for the development of protein, which itself has an important role in the formation of collagen. As such, it helps to support the healthy growth of your skin tissue, which is important for those dealing with cold sores.
Lysine also packs a punch when it comes to antiviral effects, blocking the activity of another amino acid called arginine – which the HSV virus needs to replicate itself.
Unfortunately, the body is unable to produce lysine by itself, so if you’re looking to boost your intake of this essential amino acid it’s best to do so through supplements or certain types of food.
Solgar L-lysine provides 1000mg of L-lysine (as Free form L-lysine HCl) per tablet. It is available for secure order from our online shop.
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