A cold sore, also known as fever blister, is a sign of infection with the herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex virus can be contracted from other people with cold sores, and once the virus is in the system, it cannot be removed with medication. The virus may cause outbreaks which will manifest through cold sores. The outbreaks of cold sores can be avoided by knowing the factors that trigger these. Some factors that trigger cold sore outbreaks include stress, certain foods (rice, peas) or drinks (coffee, black tea or beer). There are some supplements and medications that can be applied to prevent cold sores.

1. Antiviral Drugs

The administration of antiviral drugs can inhibit the herpes virus. These drugs may also prevent the transmission of the virus to others. Some common antivirals administered for the herpes simplex virus include Acyclovir (marketed as Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), Famciclovir (Famvir) and Penciclovir (marketed as Denavir).

There are certain lip balms or topical ointments that can also be applied on the cold sores, such as Zovirax. Even if Zovirax used as a topical ointment cannot prevent the occurrence of a cold sore, it can reduce its duration. Apply Zovirax as soon as you feel tingling on your lip.

2. Avoid Stress

Stress can be a triggering factor for cold sore outbreaks. Avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Identify what can cause stress and try to eliminate these situations. Stress can be caused by work, moving or new situations. Even if stress may not always be avoided, you can get some stress medication or therapy sessions that can help you cope with stress.

Aromatherapy is an alternative option that may be used to reduce stress.

3. Watch Your Diet

Certain foods are known to trigger cold sore outbreaks. Avoid foods such as rice, chocolate, peas, gelatin, chocolate, sugar or foods that contain caffeine. Rice and peas contain arginine, which is the suspected culprit that may trigger cold sores. Check food labels for arginine and avoid this ingredient as much as possible.

Drinks such as beer, coffee, cola or black tea can trigger cold sores. Beer contains arginine, which is an amino acid that can trigger cold sores. Caffeine can inhibit the herpes virus if consumed in small amounts, but in excess, caffeine can have the opposite effect.

4. Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin B can contribute to stress relief; get some supplements to prevent cold sore outbursts. Bear in mind that if you eat a lot of sugars and glucose, these can inhibit the vitamin B absorption; avoid eating too many sweets.

You may also opt for additional vitamins (vitamin C or E), iron and zinc that will inhibit the activity of the herpes simplex virus.

5. Lysine Supplements

Lysine is an amino acid that can prevent cold sores by inhibiting the activity of the herpes simplex virus. Consult your doctor prior to getting supplements.