I've had cold sores my entire life. Not only do I get cold sores, but I get them bad. 80% of the world population has them, and of that 80%, only 20% get reoccurring breakouts. Of that 20% of the 80% even less (like 5-10% I believe) get really bad reocurring break outs. Yay me! Anyway, about 3 years ago I switched from what I thought was a healthy diet to the Paleo diet. From there, I noticed that not only did the frequency of my breakouts decrease, but also the severity. I just recently became a vegetarian (I know, drastic change from Paleo), and was trying to do some research on cold sores and vegetarianism when I came across this thread. Although I'm no doctor by any means, I have done a plethora of research on this topic due to my condition and the severity of my reoccurring breakouts. I was also a massage therapist for over 5 years (just so you know that I have a holistic background). There are quite a few things that other people said that are true, which include:
- You need more lysine as opposed to arginine
- The ****ake mushroom is a great antibacterial/fungal holistic remedy that helps with cold sores
- Lemon grass (oil or supplement) is good for cold sores
- Sunburn, stress, lack of sleep, and unhealthy eating habits (including alcohol and coffee consumption) aren't good for someone who gets cold sores
- Herpes is a virus, which means it can't be cured; it's in your DNA, however yes, it does lie dormant in your stem cells until it's triggered due to a plethora of factors
Other things that weren't mentioned that you should know about cold sores:
- Diet is super important. Just because you're vegan, doesn't mean you're eating healthy. (For the most part), avoid gluten, added sugars (outside of fruit), coffee, starches, DAIRY, and chocolate (especially avoid coffee and chocolate when you're having a breakout
- Grapes have a component called reverstol (I believe that's how it's spelled), which is really good for cold sores (both preventative and when you have a breakout)
- Wear an SPF in your chapstick/lip gloss (even when it's cloudy)--I once got a really bad outbreak after snowboarding (4 different spots on my lips with multiple "bubbles". It was awful. The entire left side of my mouth was swollen) because I was not only not wearing a chapstick with SPF but also because I wasn't wearing anything to protect my lips from the wind
- Windburn can also be a trigger
- Lemon Oil (found at Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts, etc.) can also help when you have an outbreak (just take a few drops and put it on a q-tip and apply directly to the sores)
- Olive leaf (supplement form) is an antifungal which can help with cold sore outbreaks
- Because cold sores are a virus which hides in your genetic DNA, not only can they not be cured, but this is also the reason why the appear in the same spot, every time (which refutes the possibility of it being a canker sore because canker sores go where ever and are not contagious)
- Look into anything that is either antifungal or will help the immune system
- Don't look for a quick fix, like abreva. In my experience, Abreva didn't work (it still took damn near 2 weeks for my cold sores to heal), but it's also not treating the problem, just the symptoms. If you want a real, lasting fix, work on your diet, exercise, and stress levels. However, because I get them so badly, I did talk to my doctor about getting me pills to take whenever I feel an outbreak coming on. They don't stop it from happening, but they do help them to go through the various stages more quickly.
- Wear chapstick like it's going out of style--seriously. I put it on right before bed, when I wake up, after brushing my teeth, and still probably 2-4 times throughout the day. Buy a good, natural kind, like one you'd find at Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts, etc. The less ingredients, the better.
Well, I hope this helps, and I hope that you stop getting outbreaks! One final things is that they typically decrease in not only severity but also frequency as you get older, so at least that's a plus of aging!