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Cold sores and the sun.

(22 Posts)
grannyrebel7 Tue 04-Aug-20 08:02:24

Had a lovely holiday last week. The weather was mostly sunny, but a bit windy and we spent most days on the beach or walking the coastal path. I'm home now sporting a great big whopping cluster of cold sores on my lower lip. They're very attractive I have to say......not! They look awful and are extremely painful. I've been using Cymex cream on them and it helps, but seems to take the top layer of skin off my lip as well. This always seems to happen to me if I spend a lot of time outside in the sun. I came home from Portugal last year with cold sores as well but not as bad as I've got now. I know this is caused by a virus and it can't be cured only treated, but am just wondering if anyone out there knows how to prevent it happening or just to lessen the attack. Any advice greatly received, old wives' tales ...anything smile

MellowYellow Tue 04-Aug-20 08:26:58

Until I read this I'd forgotten that I used to get cold sores in the sun, but for years now I have used Factor 50 suncream on my face and haven't had a cold sore for ages.

Grannynannywanny Tue 04-Aug-20 08:48:30

grannyrebel7 I’ve had this problem on and off for years. I find it’s a combination of sun and breeze that brings them out. The only thing I find helps is Zovirax cream. Ideally always have some at the ready and apply at the slightest tingle on your lip and it can stop it in its tracks.

It’s not cheap at around £4 for a tiny tube. It’s an antiviral cream and the active ingredient is acyclovir. I was delighted to find it recently in Poundland. Same ingredients and strength at £1 instead of 4. It’s labelled cold sore cream there and you’ll see the acyclovir ingredient listed.

A bit like buying paracetamol instead of the branded Panadol which is quadruple the price although the same ingredient.

crazyH Tue 04-Aug-20 08:53:13

I wish I knew why, but I don't think I've ever had a cold sore in my life. I suffer from a lot of other ailments, asthma, eczema, etc etc but never cold sores. Strange eh?

recklessgran Tue 04-Aug-20 09:02:47

I had the same problem *grannyrebel7". The cold sores are caused by the same virus as chickenpox I believe. Apparently it lies dormant in your body and comes out with sun exposure. I cured my problem by using SPF50 lip balm - I've never had any since I started using it on the advice of my doctor after a particularly nasty outbreak.

Nannytopsy Tue 04-Aug-20 09:06:09

The UV in sunlight reactivates the virus. I often get them after the first sunny days in Spring. Zovirax has been a game changer and I use a lipsalve with UV protection too.

Puzzler61 Tue 04-Aug-20 09:12:08

Speaking for my DH who has been a lifelong cold sore sufferer :
He is never without Zovirax, it seems to be worth the money (it’s such a tiny tube ?)
and uses factor 50 lip sunscreen when he’s out and about - particularly the days he’s at golf.

He’s complained of a new one just yesterday.
I’m very glad I don’t get them crazyH - don’t wish one upon yourself 😉

crazyH Tue 04-Aug-20 09:17:56

Ahhhhhh - I think I know why - I always use lipstick or Lipsyl

geekesse Tue 04-Aug-20 09:38:06

recklessgran, it’s not the same virus as chickenpox - that’s herpes zoster. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex, and are almost identical to genital herpes. However, one thing they have in common is that after the initial infection, the virus remains in the body, and can erupt again. In most cases, the chickenpox virus causes shingles later in life if it is reactivated, usually from a combination of stress and low resistance to illness. Cold sores just keep on coming back.

Cold sores can cause a rare but very severe illness in new babies. If you have active cold sores, do not kiss baby grandchildren. They can also be spread to the genitals by oral sex.

An antiviral like aciclovir, applied as soon as you get that prickly tingle, can prevent or limit an outbreak of cold sores, but you need to apply it frequently for several days to do the trick.

Fennel Tue 04-Aug-20 12:46:24

I've had a small coldsore recently, first since we returned from France. So it could be the sun.
I still have a small tube of Acyclovir and have been using that. I think you might need a prescription for it. Getting better.

Grannynannywanny Tue 04-Aug-20 12:55:50

No need for a prescription Fennel It’s freely available in pharmacies and some supermarkets. Around £4 a tube as Zovirax. Better still I’ve recently found it on sale for £1 as acyclovir cold sore cream in Poundland. Exactly seem ingredient and strength.

Best results by applying as soon as first sting felt on lip and often stops it breaking through at all.

Fennel Tue 04-Aug-20 17:29:32

" Better still I’ve recently found it on sale for £1 as acyclovir cold sore cream in Poundland."
Thanks for that GNW- I'll have a look in our Poundland.
my old tube is out of date now.

Katyj Tue 04-Aug-20 18:05:29

Yes Zovirax is the only thing that works for me, I’ll be looking in Poundland for it now thank you fennel. Don’t forget to use separate towels as they are very contagious. I also have them on my cornea when I’m run down ,they are extremely painful and damage the eye sight so need to be treated quickly .

annodomini Tue 04-Aug-20 18:24:24

Several different Acyclovir creams are available on Amazon.

Oldbat1 Tue 04-Aug-20 19:35:30

Zovirax is great stuff and I was thrilled when it was no longer a requirement for a prescription. I buy the cheaper stuff now and always have some in my handbag. Cold sores happen to me when I am a bit run down or if I’ve been out in the sun. I’m always surprised how miserable they make you feel.

ExD Tue 04-Aug-20 19:49:00

Zovirax does have a limited shelf life once its opened, so if you find last year's tube is no longer effective you need to buy another.
And the sun does activate the virus, so does stress - even something good like looking forward to something - that's why we often get a breakout before a special occasion when we want to look good - like a party or a holiday.
Horrible things!

grannyrebel7 Tue 04-Aug-20 20:26:17

Thanks everyone for your responses. I shall stock up on the Acyclovir cream and the SPF50 lip balm for future use!

Oldfogie Sat 15-Aug-20 21:32:40

I second Zovirax, always have a tube in my handbag and definitely when going on holiday. You can buy a tube of Aciclovir which is the active ingredient in Zovirax, it can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets and is £2 or so. It works exactly the same, apply at first tingle and keep applying every hour or so.

grannyqueenie Sat 15-Aug-20 21:46:29

Horror of horrors a potential corker appeared 2 days before my daughter’s wedding!. I’d read that applying a teabag soaked in hot water and squeezed almost dry would stop it in its tracks and thankfully it did! Something to do with the tannin I think, I’ve used that remedy ever since.

grannyrebel7 Sat 15-Aug-20 21:56:30

Haven't heard that one grannyqueenie - will give it a go next time.

MayBee70 Sat 15-Aug-20 22:01:58

Aciclovir stopped working for me and I was always getting cold sores even though I would zap them straight away. Then I read about using lip balm with bee propolis which also contains a sun block and, touch wood, I haven’t had a cold sore since. I bought it from a company called Bee Health. I bought two small tubs and I’m still only part way through using the first one.

Nonogran Mon 17-Aug-20 11:06:07

I have suffered from cold sores all my life. Probably caught from mum who at 95 still gets them. Six years ago, during a stressful time, I had 14, one after the other. Made me quite ill. The better news is, I took a zinc supplement for 12 months, & now I do so every winter. I also keep Zovirax in my bag just in case of a tingle but never seem to need it these days. I reckon zinc from the health food shop on the High Street has helped big time so why not try that, but be consistent. Take it every day & see if matters improve. If you are on medication, have a word with your pharmacist first to ensure no interactions with your prescribed medication. Hope this helps.