Basic Information About Cold Sores and Herpes

Cold sores are an outward symptom of getting herpes. Cold sores on the face and around the mouth are usually caused by the type one strain of herpes but they can also be caused by type 2. Herpes type 2 is usually associated with genital herpes but can be transferred to the face and mouth through sexual contact. Because herpes is a virus, it cannot be treated with an antibiotic. There are many different anti viral medications which can reduce the duration of each outbreak but they don't do anything to actually cure the virus. These can usually take a outbreak that might last several weeks and take it down to a day or two- which is an incredible achievement.

Herpes is completely incurable. There is not any kind of vaccine you can just take in order to cure herpes or remove cold sores. Some people believe that we might be getting very close to such a vaccine however. There have been some vaccines recently developed, which are still in testing, that claim to be able to prevent infections of genital herpes in women. This of course goes after the type 2 strain of herpes. The people who have created this vaccine, which is called Herpevac, have said they believe they can create a similar vaccine that will go after herpes complex 1.

Herpes is a disease which works in cycles. You will alternate between periods where the disease is active and periods where the disease is in remission or dormant. The part of the cycle where it is active usually lasts between two and twenty one days. During this period you will get blisters on the skin which contain the infectious virus. During remission there will be no symptoms of the virus at all. This is usually the state the virus stays in the vast majority of the time. During this time period the virus will remain in the sensory nerve cells on the face. Unfortunately the virus will stay in this area for the entire life of the person with the virus. During the lifetime there will be many outbreaks varying in seriousness and frequency.

What Is Lysine?

There are a lot of different remedies for cold sores that just about all of us have heard about(after all it is said that by the age of fifty over ninety percent of the entire population is carrying the herpes virus). Over the years people have tried all kinds of them. One of the ones you will hear about most commonly is l-lysine but most people will simply call it lysine. Lysine is a special amino acid which humans cannot produce on their own. It is absolutely essential to survival for a few different reasons. Because we cannot produce this on our own we must get it from dietary sources. In a natural setting we get the majority of the lysine we use from various different grains and legumes. Today we can get lysine from supplements.

Lysine And Cold Sores

Lysine has been shown to be very effective at reducing the time period in which a outbreak of herpes lasts. This is for a few different reasons. The main thing that lysine does to the herpes virus is inhibit its ability to replicate itself while it is in its active stage. This will prevent the virus from ever replicating enough to create serious outbreaks that will cause cold sores. This will keep the virus in its dormant stage(but never completely remove it) for much longer periods of time and could even keep it in its formant stage forever.

If your goal is to avoid getting cold sores completely then you will need to take lysine every single day. This will be pretty easy if you are already taking supplements, you can just add it in with all of the others. There are two recommended dosages for lysine. The first is how much you should take on a day to day basis. Every day you should be taking about 500 mg of lysine just to prevent the virus from coming up again. If you have an active outbreak then you will need to take six times that much. It is recommended that you take 1000 mg three times per day. However, I would recommend that if you feel even the slightest tingle of an oncoming cold sore that you begin to take the increased dosage. This might prevent the cold sore from ever popping up.

The following quote is from a scientific study conduced by the Indiana University School of Medicine:

"A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial of oral L-lysine monohydrochloride for the prevention and treatment of recurrent herpes simplex (HSV) infection was conducted. The treatment group was given L-Lysine monohydrochloride tablets (1,000 mg L-lysine per dose) 3 times a day for 6 months. A total of 27 (6 male and 21 female) subjects on L-lysine and 25 (6 male and 19 female) subjects on placebo completed the trial. The L-lysine treatment group had an average of 2.4 (p less than 0.05) less HSV infections, symptoms were significantly (p less than 0.05) diminished in severity and healing time was significantly reduced (p less than 0.05). L-Lysine appears to be an effective agent for reduction of occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent HSV infection."

There have been several studies over the years that have been done on the effects of lysine on cold sores. All of them point to the exact same conclusion as the one from the Indiana University School Of Medicine. If you have a history of suffering from cold sores then this should be your first weapon to use against your herpes infection. However, this isn't to say you shouldn't also be using the prescription drugs that your doctor can give you. These anti-viral drugs can be very helpful.

On top of that there are a few other home remedies for cold sores which you can try as well. One of the first is Benzyl alcohol-which is one of the few home remedies for cold sores which is approved by the Mayo Clinic- witch hazel, clearasil, and nail polish remover. The last one may seem kind of odd to you but it is incredible for keeping your cold sores completely dry.