by Louise Harland Titmuss
Did you know that there are over 70 viruses in the herpes family? The most common being the Herpes Simplex Virus, Type 1 (HSV-1) which causes cold sores. The virus is related to, but not the same as HSV-2, which causes genital herpes.
The virus, once contracted, remains in our system for life and at present there is no known cure. It hides in the nervous tissue escaping detection by the immune system. The exact mechanism that causes the herpes virus to change from the latent stage into an active infection is unknown. Certain types of stress to the immune system - such as illness, injury, emotional upset, poor nutrition, high exposure to sunlight or even menstruation - often provoke an outbreak. Depending on the strength of the immune system, Herpes Simplex may continue to recur throughout life: HSV-1, for instance, has a recurrence rate of 14%; HSV-2 a rate of 60%.
A cold sore starts out as a small bubble like lesion, which over 24 hours reaches a blister stage. There is a tingling or itching in the affected area, which indicates a lesion is beginning to form. A cold sore will usually last for a period of ten days.
There are a number of options to coping with cold sores.
Lysine/Arginine ratio. The most established alternative method to controlling herpes through diet involves increasing lysine intake while keeping arginine intake to a minimum. Lysine and arginine are amino acids - lysine is higher in foods such as cheese, potatoes and soya products. Arginine is found in chocolate, nuts, seeds, oatmeal and wholewheat. The herpes virus uses arginine for growth and replication; lysine inhibits uptake of arginine. It is advisable to take 1000mg lysine daily as a preventative and 3000mg daily during an outbreak. However, arginine is important for immune function so one should not let the lysine/arginine ratio become too disproportionate.
Avoid foods that stress the immune system such as sugar, processed foods or stimulants including coffee, chocolate and cola drinks. It helps to eliminate highly acidic substances, such as citrus fruit, vinegar, tomatoes and food high in sodium (salt). Meat and dairy products are high in arginine and should be kept to a minimum during outbreaks.
Vitamins. Vitamin C, E & B Complex and zinc will help the immune function and enable a sufferer to cope better with stress. There is a natural fruit vitamin C tablet available that is easily absorbed and low in acid.
Echinacea possesses both antiviral and antibacterial properties and so makes a very useful support remedy by strengthening the immune system. St John's Wort (Hypericum) has antiviral activity due to one of the constituents, hypercin. It is particularly effective as an analgesic working on nerve pain. Remember to check before using, as it may be contraindicated with medication being taken.
In the meantime you could try Bio-Propolis Cold Sore Treatment, which can be used at any stage of the cold sore's development. It is designed to be rapidly applied to soothe the cold sore area and form a protective barrier to the elements, allowing the skin's healing process to go to work and return the affected area to a healthy condition.