Herpes, cold sores: why protecting yourself from the sun is essential if you are subject to it

If you’ve ever had a cold sore, you may know that summer isn’t necessarily an easy season. In question ? The sun, which can be a triggering factor for herpes attacks in some people. This is why prevention is key.

Herpes is a disease of the skin and mucous membranes caused by a virus. HSV 1, responsible for herpes in the mouth and upper body, therefore produces what are called cold sores. HSV 2 is responsible for genital herpes, which is a sexually transmitted disease.

Highly contagious, the virus, once contracted, migrates to the sensory nerve ganglia linked to the skin or mucous membranes, where the primary infection took place. There it persists in the ganglia in a latent state, that is, at rest. But it can be reactivated at any time by various factors, among which the sun.

The crisis then often manifests itself on the lips or around the lips, by a burning or tingling sensation followed by the appearance of a red plaque on which small vesicles are grafted in a bouquet. After a few days, the vesicles rupture and lead to the formation of scabs which eventually fall off, without leaving a scar. The push usually lasts between 5 and 10 days.

UV prevention

However, strong exposure to the sun can trigger a strong attack. “It is mainly UVB rays that are responsible for this, probably through a reduction in the immune defences”, can we read on the site of Pediatrician Online.

That is why the fragile skin of the lips and around the mouth must be protected with suitable photoprotection, with high protection sticks for the lipsto be applied every 2 hours, overflowing one centimeter around the mouth.

It is also possible, in additional prevention, to apply acyclovir cream in the evening, an antiviral available over the counter. And if you are frequently prone to cold sores in the sun, ask your dermatologist or your doctor to prescribe you acyclovir tablets, to be taken in a preventive dose (400 mg morning and evening).

Finally, be sure to rest well, to avoid adding fatigue – another triggering factor – to the sun.

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