While the herpes virus is known for causing cold sores, it can also be responsible for other potentially serious side effects, such as blindness and potentially lethal encephalitis. To prevent these consequences, the immune system is kept under constant guard of the virus.
Cold Sores & The Immune System
The immune system does an amazing job of keeping you healthy and fighting off invading pathogens, like HSV-1. And while the immune system cannot kill the virus, it actively keeps it from spreading to other cells. Keeping the immune system running at peak performance keeps cold sores from appearing, and our lifestyle and food choices can heavily impact how well our immune system is doing. Without a strong immune system, the body quickly becomes overwhelmed by the herpes virus, allowing severe and persistent outbreaks to occur.
During your first ever episode of the herpes virus, the immune system develops antibodies and other weapons against the outbreak. There-after, any future occurrences are treated by “immune-memory”, which helps fight of the virus more quickly. But when the immune system is busy handling either internal threats, like other illnesses, or external threats like stress or aging, is when the virus has a chance to strike.
Improving Your Immune System:
- Consume lots of fruit and vegetable juice, specifically blueberries, grapes, and spinach. These foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other important things your body needs to fight off virus’s.
- Combining proper eating with exercise can be a big help to your immune system. By having moderate exercise around 4 times a week, you can strengthen your white blood cells, blood flow to vital organs, increase circulation, and even mental health. 20 to 30 minutes of walking or jogging for 5 days a week is an easy and powerful way to give your body a much needed boost against cold sore outbreaks.
- Avoiding stress is an easy way to keeping your immune system in check. It’s proven that under high stress, the body cannot fight off harmful infections as easily. Switch out drinks that are high in caffeine with water or herbal teas.Certain vitamin supplements like vitamin B, Ginseng and Vitamin C can help benefit your body in times of high stress. Magnesium is also a helpful vitamin for relaxation.
Things That Harm the Immune System
- Alcohol is a prime suspect is a cold sore appears. Depending on the amount and duration, extensive alcohol consumption suppresses the immune system by weakening important defense mechanisms. These effects can last up to 24 hours afterward, giving the virus a window to create a cold sore.
- Smoking can also defeat the immune system. Cigarette smoke alters the immune response to bacteria, by changing how the immune system interacts with the virus. This defeats certain properties like “immune-memory”, allowing the virus to move past the white blood cells and start a cold sore.
- Sunlight, or more specifically, vitamin D, is produced when you are outside. Vitamin D actually has a large role in our immune system, with studies showing that vitamin D influences both innate and acquired immunity. It’s not vitamin D that’s bad for the immune system, its a lack of. Vitamin D deficiency can be a large reason for cold sore recurrences.
The Ultimate Prevention
While it’s easy to say “make lifestyle changes”, it can often be difficult or uncomfortable to make large changes drastically. While avoiding alcohol and cigarette smoke is an easy way to keep the immune system healthy, there will always be times when it is out of our control. For those times, there’s InterceptCS™. Let Intercept be your fail-safe in case of a recurrence, with proven Thermal Therapy Technology. When you feel the tingle of an on-coming cold sore, use Intercept to kill harmful bacterial and send a cold sore packing. Let your immune system take on whatever else, and use InterceptCS™ take care of the job.