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WE ALL KNOW THE LOOK: it’s as though you have a cornflake stuck to your lip. And most of us know the feeling: an itch or tingling that precedes the development of a blister or cluster of tiny blisters. Cold sores, caused by re-activation of the herpes simplex virus, are a common affliction, usually triggered by such things as exposure to bright sunlight or wind, being run down, emotional or physical stress, or even excessive rubbing or chafing on the area. An estimated 90 per cent of people carry the virus. While most people have no symptoms with their initial or primary infection, some experience fever, tiredness, multiple blisters, ulcers in and around THE DOCTOR the mouth, a sore throat or swollen neck glands. Simple cold sores do not indicate recent acquisition of the herpes Dr Cindy Pan simplex virus but re-activation of the dormant virus, usually some time after the initial infection. Prevention is ideal, so try to identify and avoid the things that seem to trigger attacks. Creams containing the antivirals penciclovir or acyclovir are available from chemists. Apply as early as possible, at the first sensation of tingling. Those with frequent or troublesome outbreaks (such as those who are immune suppressed) may need to talk to their doctor about using oral antiviral medication for prevention and management of severe episodes. Simple symptomatic remedies, such as applying ice or iodine-based solutions, may also be helpful.

Dr Cindy Pan has had over 10 years of clinical practice. Her books include Pandora’s Box: Lifting The Lid On Life’s Little Nasties (HarperCollins) and Playing Hard To Get (HarperCollins). She appears on television, lectures and speaks about all aspects of health, relationships and wellbeing.

ANYONE WHO SUFFERS FROM COLD SORES KNOWS the familiar tingle. As soon as you feel this sensation, it’s important to act straight away. Cold sores are transmitted by the herpes simplex virus. They can present themselves anywhere on the body but are most commonly found around the mouth and inside the nose. The virus can lie dormant in the body for many years but is only activated during periods of stress, lowimmune status and exposure to cold or sunlight. Some women find that their period can also trigger an outbreak. Hygiene is important. During an outbreak, don’t kiss, share utensils, towels, razors or toothbrushes with others. Avoid your individual THE NATUROPATH triggers. For example, some people find that Leah Hechtman excessive sun exposure can trigger an outbreak. One of the most common triggers is stress. Work on stress-relieving strategies and when you feel the cold sore developing, slow down. The amino acid L-Lysine reduces the intensity of the herpes virus. Foods such as kidney beans, split peas, fish, lamb, cheese and sprouts are all useful sources of Lysine, or you can try a supplement. Conversely, the amino acid L-Arginine can stimulate the virus. So reduce foods high in L-Arginine, such as nuts, chocolate, carob, coconut, soybeans and oats.

Leah Hechtman is a naturopath and fertility specialist. She is a lecturer, author, researcher and industry consultant and has her own clinical practice in Sydney, NSW. She specialises in fertility, reproductive and psychological health. For more information visit

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ANYONE WHO SUFFERS FROM COLD SORES KNOWS the familiar tingle. TOPIC OF THE WEEK the body+soul team ● sub-editor Gina Flaxman our cover Getty...


ANYONE WHO SUFFERS FROM COLD SORES KNOWS the familiar tingle. TOPIC OF THE WEEK the body+soul team ● sub-editor Gina Flaxman our cover Getty...