Tag: virus

Healthy Swellness: How to lower your frequency of cold sore outbreaks

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That tingling. As soon as you feel it, you’re filled with dread. Because if you’ve ever had one before, you know what’s soon to come. An ugly and sometimes painful cold sore. And with this unsightly sore by your mouth, you just want to hide out until it goes away.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about cold sores, though. Although you might feel conspicuous and ashamed when you have a cold sore flare-up, you should know that this virus is actually very common. According to Ipsos Connections Tracking Research, about one in five Canadians suffer from the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and the World Health Organization just released the findings of their first study on cold sores a few weeks ago, and they estimate that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 have this virus.

One reason the cold sore virus is so common is because this incurable problem is easily transferred from one person to another. All you have to do is come into contact with the virus, so this could happen by using the same utensils or drinking from the same cup as someone who has an active herpes simplex lesion.

I remember getting a cold sore about 20 years ago. I didn’t recognize the tingling sensation on my lip, and it quickly progressed into an unsightly cold sore. I remember walking with my head down for two weeks and desperately wanting to hide at home until it was gone. I haven’t had an outbreak since, but I know everyone has cold sore triggers, and once you know your triggers, you can help reduce the frequency of it flaring up.

For example, a compromised immune system may lead to the virus flaring up. So living life in a way to maintain a healthy immune system will help, such as getting enough sleep and eat a well-balanced diet. Also, reducing your stress levels can help lower your flare-up risk; your choice of stress-busting may be meditation, whereas others prefer to go for a run, kickboxing class or just going for a walk with your dog. Personally, I go running regularly and I generally eat a balanced diet.

Still, even with the best lifestyle habits, there is always a risk you could get a cold sore; remember, once exposed to the virus, you carry it for the rest of your life. And while there is still no cure, know that there are now over-the-counter cold sore treatments like abreva® that contain real medicine that can reduce the length of time you have the cold sore.

If you suffer from cold sores frequently, or even if you’ve only had just one episode in the past (like me) it’s important to be prepared and know how to properly treat them at the first sign of the tingle. In fact, even if you’ve never had a cold sore, you may still have been exposed to the virus, so this is good-to-know info for everyone, especially considering cold and flu season is around the corner, which tends to bring our immune system down.

Stay tuned to the blog for more information on what you can do to help keep cold sores at bay (and word on the street is there’ll be a giveaway in the new year, too!).


4 Comments December 21, 2015

Giveaway Swellness: Win a Shoppers Drug Mart Cold and Flu Defense Kit

Life Brand tissue

Oh, the irony — I’m writing sniffly and scratchy throat-ish as I’ve come down with a cold. What I would give to have this Shoppers Drug Mart Cold and Flu Defense Kit right now!

Lucky for one of you — you can win this kit (valued at more than $150) so you’re prepared to prevent coming down with the cold and flu this season and so you can better manage your symptoms if you do.

In the Cold and Flu Defense Kit prize:

  • $50 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card (which you can use for more cold and flu stuff if you’re practical, or beeline it over to the Beauty Boutique if you’re like me, haha)
  • a humidifier (one of those items always on my should-buy list, but then I never get around to it…here, you win one in the prize pack! Sweet!)
  • Life Brand Hand Sanitizer
  • Vapo Rub
  • Digital Thermometer
  • Sugar-free cough drops
  • facial tissue
  • Vitamin C and D
  • Simply Food Chicken Noodle Soup

You’ll be pretty grateful to have all of these cold and flu helpers if you do get sick this season!

Oh, and did you know that you can get your annual flu shot by walking in or booking an appointment online at http://shoppersdrugmart.ca/flushot.

How to enter? You can enter in five different ways (each way counts as one entry, so go ahead and enter in all five methods!):

1. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name and mailing address. Please put “Shoppers Drug Mart Cold and Flu Defense Kit” in the subject line.

2. Twitter: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I want to #win this @ShopprsDrugMart Cold and Flu Defense Kit from @healthswellness: http://bit.ly/1fCFT4c

3. Comment on this post and tell me how you spend the day when you call in sick.

4. Like the Health and Swellness page on Facebook and also leave a comment on the wall post about this Cold and Flu Defense Kit giveaway about what TV show or movie you watch when you’re at home sick.

5. Instagram: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), like the Instagram photo related to this giveaway, and write a comment what you do when you’re under the weather (sleep? drink lots of tea? go into the office or stay home?)

The prize is valued at $150 and the giveaway will close at 11:50PM on Monday, October 21, 2013. Please note that this giveaway is open to Canadian  residents only. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Health & Swellness. If I cannot reach the winner within a week, another winner will be selected at random.

Psst! More prizes to be won in the Shoppers Drug Mart @LetsTalkFlu Tweet Chat on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, at 7PM! Be sure to take part! More details on the Tweet Chat coming to you shortly right here on Health &  Swellness!



27 Comments October 16, 2013

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