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John Sherman, a naturopathic physician and medical adviser for, has been treating people with cold sores for nearly 30 years. Here, he explains outbreaks and treatments:

Prevalent virus: The virus that causes cold sores, HSV-1, enters our bodies through mucous membranes, in areas such as the mouth and lips. It lives in the roots of nerves, and when you get a cold sore, it appears at the nerve ending. More than 80 percent of people have the cold sore virus in their system even if they’ve never had an outbreak.

Causes: Getting a sunburn can cause a cold sore outbreak. An overly acidic system - drinking too much orange juice, consuming too much sugar - also can cause it.

Treatment: One of the biggest mistakes people make is using a topical salve or concealer on a cold sore. These cover up the cold sore, but they also tend to push the virus back into the system. It’s better to draw out the virus by drinking sage tea or taking bentonite clay. A cold sore is one way your body tries to push the HSV-1 virus out of your system, and drawing it out can help kill the virus in that nerve.

Red flag: The typical cold sore lasts 10 days. If you get them often and they cover a wide area and are accompanied by fever, seek medical attention.

This is a sign that your immune system is being challenged.

Solutions: A cold sore might relate to issues in your colon, such as not enough of the right bacteria or too much of the wrong bacteria. ImmunaSure, available at, includes a special variety of intestinal bacteria that work to prevent cold sores. The supplement L-lysine is effective, but it takes quite a large amount to work preventively. How much? Ask your doctor.





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