Cold Sores 2 min read

Treating cold sores in the summer months

Treating cold sores in the summer months Treating cold sores in the summer months Treating cold sores in the summer months

For some, winter is the time when you’re most likely to suffer from cold sores. Cold sores can be triggered by exposure to cold air, and the chilly winter wind can dry out and crack lips, creating the perfect conditions for cold sores to appear. However, cold sores affect people in different ways, and while cold and wintry conditions can cause cold sores, they are far from exclusively a winter thing.

If you suffer from cold sores in the summer, you’ll know just how frustrating this can be. Developing a cold sore on a summer holiday can spoil the fun, and you feel much more exposed when you’re out and about during the warmer months with a painful outbreak on your lips. So, just what is it about the summer that causes cold sores? To understand how summer conditions affect cold sores, it’s worth understanding a little more about what causes them in the first place.

What are cold sores?

Cold sores are small groups or clusters of blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex virus is categorised into two types:
1. HSV-1
2. HSV-2
Cold sores are caused by HSV-1. Once inside the body, HSV-1 will generally remain inactive until stimulated or triggered into action by certain conditions. When this happens, you start to feel that unpleasant tingling sensation around the lips or mouth that results in a cold sore. About 1 in 5 people in the UK have recurring cold sores and the virus is easily passed from person to person.

Does the sun trigger cold sores?

The triggers for cold sores are very individual and vary from person to person. However, there are some common causes in the summer months that are often responsible for outbreaks.

How to prevent cold sores in warmer months

As we know, cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 virus, which, once infected, will be with us for life – no matter what we do. As such, there’s no cure for cold sores. But that’s not to say we’re always at the mercy of these painful outbreaks. The first thing to do is to try and avoid any personal triggers, be that excess sunlight, dry lips or stress. Prevention is always better than cure.

How to look after cold sores in the sun

Various treatments and remedies can help reduce the chances of a cold sore developing, as well as things you do to limit the discomfort and inconvenience of an outbreak if it does happen during the summer.

Does the heat make the cold sores more contagious?

Cold sores are no more or less contagious in the summer than any other time of year. However, you may be more likely to socialise when the weather is good than when it’s cold and wet in the winter. Cold sores can be contagious, especially when they rupture, so you need to keep this in mind.