Know your trigger factors.
Some people are more prone to cold sores than others and there are some well known trigger factors. To understand personal trigger factors associated with outbreaks of herpes sores, it’s worth keeping a diary and making a note of personal circumstances, health, well being and if any trigger factors are present at the time. With a small amount of detective work it is possible to identify factors present with an outbreak of cold sores or genital herpes, understand personal triggers for outbreaks and make the changes necessary to avoid them.
These are some of the commonest trigger factors for cold sores
- Colds, flu and other viral infections
- Stress and emotional upset
- Surgery- especially dental or facial work
- Exhaustion, fatigue, tiredness.
- Over exercising. Exercise is good for us but some people workout at a peak level and just tipping over the top can result in a sudden drop in immunity.
- Jet lag
As well as these triggers there are several more external factors that can result in the virus becoming active. These include:
- Strong sunlight and UV exposure.
- Using sunbeds
- Cold weather, cold winds, dry air that dries out the skin and causes chapping especially when skiing
- Injury or abrasion to the affected area.
- Eating spicy foods that irritate the mouth
- Some facial cosmetics and facial scrubs
- Air conditioning
- Long haul flights
Diet may also trigger outbreaks and foods rich in the amino acid arginine are the main problem. Arginine and lysine exist in all foods and high levels of lysine can combat the high arginine effects.
The following are the high arginine content foods that are most commonly described as trigger factors for cold sores.
- Peanuts and peanut products such as peanut butter.
- Oats, including oatmeal and porridge oats.
Caffeine may also trigger activity in the herpes virus in some people and caffeinated drinks including colas, teas and coffees may result in an outbreak.
Patient QI have put together three groups of foods that have excellent, good or low ratios of lysine to arginine to help in planning a high lysine low arginine diet.