Summertime Risks for Cold Sores

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Sun exposure is one of the most common causes of cold sore outbreaks. It's estimated one in five adults carries the herpes simplex one virus. This puts them at risk for outbreaks.

Doctors say the same way you protect your skin from sun exposure, with sunscreen and wearing a hat when necessary, will also help prevent cold sores. Even a mild, generalized sunburn can decrease a cold sore sufferers resistance to an outbreak.

However, if early symptoms are felt, such as tingling around the mouth or lips, pharmacists say you should use at least an over-the-counter medication to help reduce the severity and duration of the outbreak.

Local pharmacist Polly Cove of Capitol Pharmacy recommends "Abreva" for recurrent cold sore sufferers. However, if this doesn't work, you should talk to your doctor about prescription medications.


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