Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are painful blisters that appear on the lips and the surrounding areas. These blisters can be seen in groups of 10 or individually and are caused by the Type 1 or Type 2 herpes virus. The infections can be painful and make one feel sick for days at a stretch. These cold sores may be manipulated by the food eaten; hence some food items are better avoided.
Coping with cold sores – foods to avoid
Food and nutrient intake plays a vital role in overall health, including lip health. If one finds themselves prone to cold sores, it’s important to check the foods taken in because this condition results from various factors, and food can be one of the primary triggers.
In general, spicy foods should be avoided by patients prone to cold sores. One of the reasons is that a highly spicy meal may irritate the area around the mouth. It increases the discomfort caused by the condition and can heighten the problems suffered by the patient. Instead, one can try a stew, mashed potatoes, or even a mild casserole for the main meal.
Salty foods rich in vinegar can cause irritating sensations in people suffering from cold blisters. Furthermore, the high sodium levels in pickles may interfere with the macrophages, cells that promote wound healing and decrease tissue inflammation. Additionally, vinegar is an acidic substance that may sting cold sores.
Like acidic foods, salty foods can also promote burning sensations after contact with a cold sore. It may be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Moreover, peanuts are rich in arginine, an amino acid that the herpes virus needs for replication to run its full course. Hence patients are advised to steer clear of arginine-rich foods such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds.
During the advanced stages of cold sores, the blisters and scabs are prone to splitting open if one opens their mouth too wide. Moreover, the immune-compromised body demands nutrient-rich food to heal from cold sores. Hence pizza is one of the main foods that are best ignored. Instead, one can try alternatives such as eggs, spinach, and green beans to help boost the immune system.
While dealing with cold sores, one must try not to aggravate them further. It can be done by minimizing the consumption of highly acidic foods such as tomatoes. Moreover, as the blisters run their course, approximately on the 4th day, they rupture, leading to open wounds that form crust-like scabs within a day. These are susceptible to cracking open, and contact with acidic food can lead to further discomfort for the patient.
Chocolate, mainly dark chocolate, may have many benefits, but patients dealing with cold sores should avoid it due to the presence of arginine in this metabolism-boosting food. Additionally, while healing, cold sores can get extremely painful and sensitive, causing immense discomfort if the wounds come in contact with hot food items.
In addition to making the changes mentioned above to the food plan, patients can also try home remedies, such as gently spreading petroleum jelly on the affected areas. Further, they can seek the advice of a medical expert as well.