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Herpes, Cold Sores, and Canker Sores

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Teen with cold sores all around his mouth

Dec 2007

My son has continual cold sores around the edges of his lips. He has just turned 15 (and also just started high school this year). It seems when one finally goes away another one starts. He is also breaking out alot an some of the pimples almost look like the cold sores. Can cold sores also be on your face, or just around the lips? Either way, does anyone have a method of controlling them that is effective and easy for a teen to use?


Cold sores can absolutely be on your face. My husband has breakouts around and even inside his nose, and once had one the size of a quarter very near his eye. In his case, they appear to be mostly brought on by sun exposure and made worse by stress. So limiting those two things might help in your son's case. My husband wears 50+ sunscreen anytime he's going to be outside. But, once an outbreak starts, the only thing that helps is the prescription medicine acyclovir. I would definitely see a doctor about this. If my husband starts taking acyclovir the moment he notices a cold sore beginning to tingle, he can often significantly shorten the time and severity of the outbreak; also, I believe this medication can be used preventatively. Karen
Is he on acyclovir? If not, ask his doctor! anon
I swear by taking one Lysine and one Vitamin C tablet per day. It has curbed my 'cold sores' for seventeen years. know the feeling
Cold sores typically result from a viral infection called herpes simplex virus (HSV). After the first occurrence, the viral particles remain alive within the nerve endings that supply that specific location, which is why the sore recurs in the same place. The virus can also spread to a new location, so wash hands and mouth area frequently.

Sunlight, stress, or fever may trigger new sores, so a sunblock on the lips and around the mouth can help prevent new sores. Get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet. When the tingling starts that signals the beginning of a new cold sore, hold a cotton ball with isopropyl alcohol on it until the pain and tingling go away.

See your doctor about the possible acne. The acne could cause additional stress, making the cold sores even worse. The doctor can also prescribe stronger treatments if the isopropyl alcohol doesn't work. If the outbreak gets close to the eye area or if the lesions become infected, see your doctor immediately. Been there


Yes - the type of cold sores you're describing sound like the herpres virus - it can be horrible to have,embarassing to walk around with, not to mention very painful. Over 80% of the population has the virus, but in most people it is latent, only some people actually get the topical break-outs. Lucky us! BUT it is totally manageable with medication. Depending on how seriously you are prone to break-outs you can take oral meds (much better than anythign available topically) preventatively every day, or only as needed when you feel a cold sore coming on.(The generic name for the medication is Acyclovir, the brand name is Valtrex. Valtrex can be taken 1X/day whereas Acyclovir is prescribed in a dose to be taken 3X/day - so I pay the extras for Valtex in exchange for the ease of use.) I'm not sure if the meds/doses vary for teenagers, but take your son to a dermatologist, or even his regular MD ASAP. This is not something he has to suffer with! finally cold-sore free
I am yet another person who has always suffered with cold sores/fever blisters/oral herpes - I started getting the blisters as a very young child (5 years old) and now only get one or two a year. I second all the advice about Acyclovir or Valtrex; I have also had a lot of success with Lysine, which you can take daily or a bunch when you feel a sore coming on. Also, Abreva, which is an expensive but over-the-counter ointment, has been a miracle unlike any other topical things I have tried. It significantly helps shorten the sores even if I don't get it in time to prevent it altogether.

As a health educator, I also wanted to put out there a reminder that, as a herpes virus, cold sores CAN be transmitted to someone's genitals through oral sex. Although the type of herpes virus that causes cold sores and the type that causes genital herpes are slightly different, both viruses can take root in both places. When I learned this later in life, I was really pissed at my pediatrician for not telling me this in highschool. He always emphasized how it wasn't the same as genital herpes. I understand that he was trying to make me feel better as an anxious teen, but a) he neglected to consider that I, like most of my peers, was having oral sex, and b) it just reinforces the idea that genital herpes is dirty. Anyway, I now have several good friends who have gotten genital herpes via oral sex with someone with a cold sore, so please make sure your son knows that he has to be careful - for his sake and any of his future partners! herpes: don't pass it on


Two year old with cold sores is constantly biting his lip

Nov 2007

My son is 2 1/2 years old, in April of this year he had what the Peditrician called Hand, Foot and Mouth. However, this week - he has gotten two places on the outside of his lip that the Peditrician is calling Cold Sores.

He is constantly biting his lip in those two areas - so I am questioning if this is a cold sore or where he has just cut in the skin from all of the biting. When I was young I use to bite my top lip constantly. Needless to say it is not healing because he is constantly biting the two places.

Has anyone else had a child this young with cold sores and if so any advice would be great? Also if you use to have cold sores and don't have them anymore - please let me know so I will know if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Worried Mother


Your 2 yo might have a yeast allergy, which can cause cold sores. This might mean dairy, sugar, fermented foods, foods that mold easily (grapes, ,raisins)...I'd check this out further,. anon mom
Cold sores are the body telling you that the immune system is run down. This could happen from not enough sleep, stress, being on the go too much, or simply not eating well enough. I have a great idea for you - kefir! It really supports the immune system and is good to drink regularly. You can buy it in the store, but it's considerably more potent and cheaper if you make it yourself (you would obtain kefir starter grains from someone- like on eBay or through the kefir groups (don't buy commercial starter powder from the store - it's not the real thing)). Making kefir is really easy and the work you put into it is only 5 minutes each time you want to drink a cup. Good health to you.

One-year-old with cold sores "expelled" from daycare

April 2007

HELP!

Our 28 month old son has had cold sores (HSV-1) since he was a year old. (most certainly contracted from one of us) His initial outbreak was severe and prolonged, and he had frequent recurrences. The outbreaks are becoming less and less frequent (now about 1 a month) and less severe. We are doing what we can (acyclovir, homeopathy, diet) to support what we understand to be his immune system's coming to terms with and controlling the virus.

He has been in a wonderful home daycare 3 days a week (3-6 kids, 6 mos. - 4 years) since he was 9 months old. We're very careful to keep him home if he has an outbreak and no other kids at the day care have ever caught it. Nevertheless, our son has been ''expelled'', possibly owing to the provider's expanding her operation. Some of the other families in the daycare, with whom we would socialize and have playdates, and informal childcare trades seem to have made themselves scarce as well.

He is starting to miss his friends and we are heartbroken for him. We are also stressed and financially strapped as we search for another daycare situation. And we are feeling abandoned by people who we thought were our friends.

We read over half of the adult population has been exposed to the cold sore virus, mostly in childhood. We seem to have fallen in with the other half! Are there any other families out there that have dealt with this?

Specifically,

What about childcare in a group setting for a child who gets cold sores? What are typical providers' policies? Any settings just for kids who get cold sores?

How to help our son deal with the sudden turnover in friends, most of whom he has know since before his first birthday?

How to meet other families with kids who have already been exposed to the virus for playdates and informal childcare exchange for days when our son has an active outbreak?

Parents of Diseased Pariah


I'm so sorry to hear that you are going thru this with your toddler. It's obviously very difficult and challenging for you. I had a scare last year where I thought my son may have contracted herpes, as he woke up with what appeared to be a coldsore. After days of agonizing and worry, his tests came back negative, but not before I had a glimpse into what you must be feeling.

I know this doesn't help you at all, but most parents will do everything they can to protect their children for coming into contact with a virus that may cause lifelong, frequent coldsore outbreaks. A great percentage of adults have been exposed to the herpes virus, HSV1 at least, but adults don't play and interact like kids do. Children drool, wrestle, crawl on each other, spit, kiss, chew on toys and engage each other in ways that adults don't. They may not understand ''limits'' on play and may not recognize the warning signs of a pending outbreak, when they may be at their most contagious.

Some people are very susceptible to multiple and frequent outbreaks. This usually lessens with time, although it can take several years or even decades. Hopefully it won't be so long in the case of your son. Best of luck.

Finally, while I think it's great to seek out others in the same situation, please be aware that there are different strains of herpes (HSV1, HSV2, others?) and having one type won't necessarily protect your child in the event that they come across another. One mom's thoughts


Your issue has come up for me throughout my life. I was a child with coldsores, my own children used to get them frequently (thankfully seem to be getting over it), and I work in the childcare industry. While CDC and the State of California Health Codes will tell you not to keep children with sores out of the childcare setting, parental fear is hard to deal with. You can't educate everyone you come into contact with. It is pretty hard to spread, although possible. We got permission from our doctor to use Abreva on our son, even though he was under the suggested age. After using it 2-3 times, he hasn't had an outbreak in years. So, if your child is too young now, you have that to look forward to in the future. For myself, I had success when I was a young adult with a Chinese Herbalist who gave me a tea that cleared them up for ten years. When possible, if your child will let you, cover the sore with a bandaid. What people don't see they don't question. Also, try to avoid oily and salty foods during an outbreak, it makes it take longer to heal. I have had some success icing a sore for 20 minutes at the first sign, but with a little one you're not going to catch it that early. Good luck to you! mom & kids with coldsores
here are some facts about herpes virus and cold sores that i found interesting when learning about it in medical school. approximately 80% of people in the US have been exposed to herpes virus. and only about half of these people will EVER get a cold sore in their lives. the old method of checking blood to detect whether or not one has been exposed is ridiculous in my opinion, since 80% is a large number. besides, if it's positive, then what? it used to be that HSV 1 represented genital herpes and HSV2 labial or facial cold sores. but that no longer applies and it doesn't matter anyway- it's the same clinically. if your child gets cold sores, just keep him away from playgroup until it has scabbed over. or healed altogether if it makes everyone feel better. the most important thing is to not make your child feel stigmatized. that is destructive and hurtful. most infections happen because someone is shedding virus without clinical symptoms (ie, likely 80% of us). people will judge because your child has cold sores. but try not to get too upset about it. it runs rampant in the population and i truly believe it's genetic whether or not you actually develop them. i get them (about every 2 years, but DH doesn't. surely he's been exposed!) if your child gets more than 6 episodes a year, that is indication for prophylactic antiviral medication. and there is great, safe medication out there that i give even my pregnant patients. derm mom

Return of my period postpartum, return of herpes

March 2007

My period resumed about 14 months into nursing my toddler, which was fine. But the third month it was back, I had a herpes outbreak right before my period, which was not so fine. I've had herpes for nearly 20 years, and hadn't had an outbreak for the last 8 years or so. Also, for years I only had a single sore, always in the same location (the virus traveled down the same nerve each time), but this time I had multiple sores in a totally different place.

I can't help but wonder if there's a connection between the hormonal upheaval of resuming ovulation after breastfeeding and the return of the herpes. Anyone have a similar experience? Can I expect more frequent outbreaks now? Will it stick to the new location or move around even more? My OB-GYN has zero curiosity as to why the disease has changed in nature, so I turn to you. anon please!


My youngest is 2 years old & like you, I did start having my outbreaks about a year after he was born. I truly think it's just the stress of motherhood. Before my kids I would only break out maybe once a year, now it's every month. I noticed that I get them right before my period & now for each & every little thing. I'm just kind of think that our bodies are tired all of the time. Being a mom & working I know that I'm getting less rest & let's face it, being a mom IS stressful wether we think it or not. But maybe our bodies have changed due to pregnancies because I never had outbreaks when my period is coming but now it's like clock work, it keeps me aware when it's coming now. And yes, it use to be in one place & now I will get them everywhere. Not just having the consent discomfort but it's a bearing on my relationship as well. Having so many outbreaks now sex is like on the back burner. SO all I can say is, take some time out for yourself. I have started doing that & I noticed a little difference. I just can't see myself taking that pill everyday for the rest of my life so I opt not to do that. My spouse is unhappy about that, but that's only because he's not getting what he wants. But like I said, get massages & get some ME time. You may not think you need it, but your body is telling you different. Good luck! I wish they would find a cure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ANON
While I can't help you with the return of your period, I'm in menopause, I can offer some advice regarding the Herpes. I have had Herpes since I was 12 (first outbreak). This went on until I was 28, at which point i read a study done by the Linus Pauling Institute. They recommended Vit. C with Lysine every day, and if you have a bad outbreak take it several times a day. We were going to Mexico, I got sunburnt, had severe breakout all over both lips...started on the C and Lysine and the outbreak went away within a week. This made me a believer and ever since I have sworn by C & Lysine. I take 500mg per day. I am now in my 50's and can honestly say that in all this time I have probably had no more than 4 outbreaks, and I attribute those to when I got complacent and quit, or was under big time stress. Since I have Herpes one I do not know if this will work on Herpes II, but it won't hurt to try. know the feeling
Me too! Not exactly the same, but similar numbers - about 15 yrs with herpes, always in same place except during pregnancy (one outbreak) and then recently (2 yrs post partum) - and I've had some really bad outbreaks over the last few months. They do seem to be mellowing out again. I am guessing part of it is due to the tired/run down factor. But I am sure pregnancy/breast feeding has changed things. lk
I can't answer your questions, but can refer you to a San Francisco support group for people with herpes. It's run by very knowledgable medical professionals who hopefully could help you. I've attended in the past, and it's very, well, supportive. They may be willing to talk with you outside of the support group meeting, also. Here is info about the next meeting, and contact information:
San Francisco HELP Group Meeting
Date:   Wednesday April 18, 2007
Time:   7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Repeat: This event repeats every month on the third Wednesday.
Location:       St. Mary's Hospital
Street: 450 Stanyan St., 3-East Conf. Room, San Francisco, CA
City/State/Zip: email: HELP_SF[at]yahoo.com for more info
or email HELP_SF[at]yahoo.com for more info.
Have questions about herpes? Or do you want to support others who
have been newly diagnosed? Then please attend a meeting of San
Francisco HELP - a confidential support group meeting for people
with genital herpes. If you're new and not quite up to mingling
at a social event, this is a great first step. If you're a
veteran, it's a great way to support newcomers and keep up with
the latest information.
3rd Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM
St. Mary's Hospital, 3-East Conf. Room
Near GG Park/Panhandle/Haight-Ashbury
Take Elevators to 3rd Floor, room is across from elevators.
--Wishing you well.
I've had herpes since age 26 (am now turning 50). Yes, there is some connection between periods and outbreaks. I also have friends with this weird virus who report that they also tend to have an outbreak prior to their period. I've noticed that stress brings it on, lack of sleep, especially late nights, is bad (got to be asleep before 11:00!), alcohol, caffeine and spicy hot food are all no-no's for herpes sufferers. I also had the the experience of breaking out in different parts of my body than where it originally started. BTW-- I was exposed to this by a boyfriend who had a lot of stress in his life and he would get ''cold sores'' in his mouth. No one at the time (1984) seemed to know that the virus could be passed to the genital/buttocks area. Anyhow, I have found a wonderful Chinese acupuncturist who has done wonders to help me manage this nasty and annoying affliction. She's in Petaluma, but it's been worth it. Don't know what I'll do should she retire. managing in Marin
My Herpes had been mostly in remission for over 10 years with only a n occasional minor outbreak. This was great news in terms of pregnancy and child birth because I could have a normal birth. After my duaghter was born I was still free of outbreaks. My period came back when my daughter was almost a year old. I was still free of outbreaks and horrible migraines too. I nursed my duaghter for 3 1/2 years. After my duaghter was weaned I started to notice huge mood swings and terrible depression. I started getting really bad migraines. I decided to go on Prozac. It helped with everything, except I started getting regular herpes outbreaks, once a month and in more places than before. At first I attributed it to the Prozac. I had stop taking it and eventually the outbreaks cleared up and now I hardly ever get them again. My duaghter is now 6 1/2 years old and I'm 46 and I'm starting to experience another hormonal change and I'm getting migraines again every month. After reading your post and other replies and looking back at my situation, I would have to say that the herpes outbreaks I experienced after I my duaghter was weaned were definitely related to the change in hormones that occur after weaning. The outbreaks came right before every menstral period. I don't think it had anything to do with the Prozac. My Docter didn't think it did either at the time. But your body does usually level out again. Mine did. I'm currently outbreak -free, although now I'm having to deal with the whole menopausel stuff. It will be interesting to see if the herpes outbreaks come back again. Anon
Sometimes medications can increase the incidence of herpes outbreaks. I am a medical provider and 2 of my patients got much more severe outbreaks when they were on Zoloft and when they went off Zoloft the outbreaks decreased dramatically. anon

Herpes (on mouth)--preventing outbreaks?

Nov 2006

I have occasional cold sores (herpes) and I think it might be due to eating chocolate and peanuts together. Does this make any sense? What do other people have to avoid (food or otherwise) to avoid cold sore out breaks? Is there any way to get them to heal faster? Mine always take about 10 days to heal.


I can't speak for actually preventing outbreaks, but have you tried Abreva or the other products like it? My outbreaks used to last a long time, like yours, but now I put on the medication at the first signs and it's gone the next day. Worth a try :) frequent cold sore candidate
Chocolate is a big one for herpes sufferers. I used to get sores from eating chocolate and coffee together (a major bummer for my mocha habit). The oils plus the sugar in chocolate make it a prime suspect for causing/exacerbating sores. Some of the things I've done to help prevent/stave off outbreaks are:

avoid extra salts and sugars (especially tough when I'm premenstrual and wanting salt and sugar - but manageable) Lots of sleep - sounds silly but extra sleep, especially when feeling stressed can help reduce your chances.

Reducing stress and stressful situations - not all things are avoidable but trying to eliminate undue stress has helped curb my previously frequent outbreaks.

Lastly, using Abreva has really helped. At the first tingle or itchy feeling I start applying it. I have had the same tube for nearly a year now (and the tube is TINY) and there is still a ton in there. It doesn't take much but be diligent and keep applying even if you get an outbreak until the sore is all the way gone. This has helped reduce my outbreak from 8-10 days to 4-5 days.

Also, lots of water, avoiding licking your lips or irritating the area and avoid chapstick on the area while there is an outbreak. Keep the outbreak dry and be extra cautious about spreading it to others - namely children with sharing cups, straws etc. Good luck, herpes sucks! Mom of Two


Hi there, fellow sufferer. I've been getting cold sores since I was in second grade, and had them constantly while I was a kid/teenager. And I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, and reeses peanut butter cups were my favorite candy. I've since cut peanuts completely out of my diet, and eat only dark chocolate. I also avoid citrus. The frequency of my outbreaks has dramatically decreased (now the things that get me are the excessive stress/menstrual hormone 1-2 punch or a meal that was cooked with peanut oil without my knowledge). No, you're not crazy. My cousin has the same triggers. i miss my pb&j's
Herpes is likely to break out when one eats foods heavy in l-arginine, the sister to l- lysine -- proteins. When the balance is to l-lysine, the breakouts are unlikely. Chocolate and nuts are two big l-arginine guys. I think grains might be, too, but I'm not sure. I bet you could find it easily on the web -- lists of arginine and lysine -rich foods. There are also l-lysine supplements, with no side effects that I'm aware of. I've prevented and healed herpes with them. If you want to go drugs, I take acyclovir now 2Xday and it completely prevents any outbreak Good luck!
You say: ''I think it might be due to eating chocolate and peanuts together. Does this make any sense?'' I say: No. You may have a chocolate sensitivity, I suppose. My herpes outbreaks (thankfully now quite infrequent) were triggered by stress, too much sun, or a high fever. anon
Sorry I missed this earlier as I have some WONDERFUL advice. I have had herpes since I was 12 years old. I'm from So. Calif and exposure to the sun is a BIG trigger for me. When I was 27 I read an artical about Dr. Linius Pauling who did a study on people with herpes. Long story short, Vit C with Lysine once a day. If you are under stress and have an outbreak, take 3x's a day (500mg of each) and this will help with the duration. Mine used to last for 10-14 days. I am now 55. I have had 'maybe' 5 outbreaks since I began way back when. Usually I get an outbreak due to becoming complacent and missing for a few weeks. I used to have an outbreak, on average, 3 times per year. I swear by this, I hope it works for you. been there
I have also had Herpes since I was a child. I suffered for years with them running their course (about 2 weeks). The doctor suggested Glycerin when I was a child & used that for years. It didn't help much but did help with the pain. I've also tried over the counter things, which didn't work as well as what's next. As an adult my aunt told me about Lysine. I buy the big Costco/Sam's size and at the slightest tingling I feel, I pop about 6 large pills (I weigh 115 lbs). Lysine is an amino acid. I continue to take a lg. amt. for about 2-3 days by then the sore has gone. I've never encountered any negative effects from doing this either. It's the most amazing thing I've tried. I know all the other suggestions are great such as more sleep etc, but not all of us can do all of that. The Lysine works even w/out doing all of that. Past Cold Sore Sufferer

I get canker sores in my mouth frequently

Oct 2006

I get canker sores in my mouth frequently - typically, when I'm tired or stressed. Does anyone know of any good/safe products to treat them - over the counter, holistic or prescription - for a quick and less painful experience? I've tried many things - but typically just have to let them take their course..Many thanks! Anon


I have the exact same problem. In addition to stress, I find canker sores can develop if I bite my lip while eating. If I discover a sore early, I rinse with mouthwash 2x/day. The sore usually retreats without becoming big and painful. If I discover the sore late, the mouthwash is not as effective, but I use it anyway. It might be smart to use mouthwash every day as a profilactic measure to stop new sores anon
I saw a dentist about this when they got so bad; I was extremely tired and stressed and that's when they come back. He recommended Vitamin B supplements, especially because I'm vegetarian. Also I find it happens when i've had way too much sugar and my immune system is lowered. So I cut down/out sugar & caffeine, drink lots of water, eat dark green leafy veg, take vit B, vit C, and REST.. been there with you
I used to have the same problem. My dentist suggested using toothpastes without sodium lauryl sulfate. This is an inactive ingredient which irritates the sore and is found in most toothpastes. Two brands I have found without it: Rembrandt makes a special toothpaste for canker sores, which is very expensive, but works. Also Sensodyne- one of the flavors, maybe original? I used to read all of the ingredients on every tube of toothpaste, but thankfully, I no longer have this problem, so there may be other brands out there without it. Anyway, this definately helped me. good luck anon
I have found that rinsing/gargling with very salty water, as hot as you can stand it, really helps. Also, dabbing hydrogen peroxide directly on the canker sore full strength seems to help too. Drip a few drops on the sore from a q-tip, let it bubble for a minute or two, then rinse your whole mouth out with warm water.

However, i have also found that certain foods seem to trigger the sores--if I eat a lot of chocolate, have a lot of orange juice, or too many tomatoes, I tend to get a canker sore soon afterwards.

Since the virus that causes these is (I think) in the same family as the viruses that cause chicken pox, shingles, and cold sores, lysine (an amino acid) should help prevent them, too. Corn is high in lysine--or you can get it inexpensively in the supplement store (I get mine at Trader Joe's). It is worth a try. Best wishes! elizabeth


Once when I caught hand, foot and mouth from my infant and had unbelievably awful lesions in my throat my sister recommended gargling with equal amounts of a malox and children's benadryl (mixed together). It worked wonders! It just sort of coats the open areas and deadens them. So perhaps that might work for you...just gargle and spit - don't swallow Hope that Helps!
Whenever I get canker sores in my mouth, I use an herbal powder found in Chinese herbal stores called Watermelon Frost. The ingredients are written in Chinese, which infortunately I cannot read, but I've used it since I was a little girl and swear by it. You apply right onto the sore at nighttime before bed until the sore goes away. It has a bitter taste to it but it really shortens the healing process!! Good luck!! here's a picture of how it looks...(I did a serch and found this) http://www.theearthhealthclinic.com/product.php? xProd=49&xSec=207 Hope this helps! g_doi
This is about the ''watermelon frost'' cure for canker sores. I admit I am a horrible skeptic. However, it made me nervous that the person using ''watermelon frost'' could not read the ingredients--not that it would make a big difference in the case below. I suggest great caution and care with herbal cures. There I have said it, and I will add to my crime by saying that I in fact have lived in China and would never use Chinese medicine. I have looked up previous ''cures'' before and the ingredients can be horrifying, including major steroids and so on that are perfectly ''natural'' in plants. And of unknown dosage in the ''medicines''. So I looked up Watermelon frost in the scientific literature and this is what I have found, just from a brief search and the first scientific article I found:

''Mercury intoxication presenting with tics'' by Albert M Lia, Michael H M Chanb, T F Leunga, Robert C K Cheungb, Christopher W K Lamb, T F Foka, Archives of Disease in Childhood 2000;83:174

''The ''Watermelon Frost'' that our patient took contained 878 ppm of mercury, mainly in the inorganic form. Although methylmercury constituted only 2% of total mercury in the CMH [Chinese Medicinal Herb] preparation, the content was 18 times the action level of mercury in food as proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.''

''Owing to the extensive modifications of drug formulations and chemical extraction from an expanding range of natural products, more cases of adverse reactions have been reported in recent years. Even batches of CMH [Chinese Medicinal Herbs] from the same manufacturer may contain variable amounts of active or potential toxic ingredients, as illustrated by our case. Though still relatively rare, heavy metal poisoning with CMH should always be suspected if a previously healthy child develops unusual symptoms, especially those involving the central nervous system.''

concerned skeptic


I know this is wrong because I forgot the name of the product I use, but you should be able to get it at any store. It's a paste & the tube says for canker sores. I'm trying to picture how the tube looks, which is bad because I need some more myself. But it works GREAT. It's like a paste & I usually put it on the sore at night when I'm on my way to bed so that you are not talking. In the morning it's gone. You can use it throughout the day, but then if you talk you might taste it & it has a funny pasty feel. I'm sorry I don't know the name but just go to longs or walgreens & look at them & see if you can open a few, maybe a pharmacist can open it or tell you which one has a pasty white cream anon
I tried everything over the counter and most stuff just didn't work for me. But, I have found three things that did work:

1) I switched to sensodyne toothpaste (the regular toothpaste has a detergent that is abrasive - dentist recommended this change)

2) use Amosan by Oral-B (also recommended by the dentist)

3) the best topical ointment I have found is 'bonjela' but I bought it in the UK -- it works wonders for me.

I have been virtually canker sore free for an entire year, which is a miracle since I got them every month before trying the above anon


I suffer from canker sores often too - usually from stress or biting my lip. I know how painful they can be. I always used Oral-B/Kanka or similar in the past to numb the pain, but I had a negative reaction to the benzocaine the last time (my entire lip swelled) so I can't use it anymore. Something to try is a mouth rinse called Rincinol. It is not the best tasting, but it does not contain medication and forms a protective film. It doesn't take away the pain totally, but it is a huge relief! It is also safe to swallow. Another thing to try is a mixture of equal parts of pepto bismol and milk of magnesia. Swish and spit, but also safe to swallow. A pediatrician recommended this for my sister when she developed them on her tongue. This mixture is often used in combination with lidocaine in cancer patients, who get the sores all the way down their esophagus. It's called BML (lidocaine is RX only). I also read where an ingredient in many commercial toothpastes can make you more susceptible - it is recommended to use a toothpaste such as Tom's Natural Anticavity toothpaste or Rembrandt Canker Sore toothpaste. these do not contain the ingredient (I think it's sodium laurel sulfate, but can't be sure). Hope one of these helps! Good luck to you! Vanessa
I suffered from frequent canker sores for many years and recently discovered that they were due to a food allergy (gluten in my case). Mine came frequently, were very painful, and took a long time to heal (sometimes weeks). If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider whether something you're eating is causing the outbreaks.

I do not find OTC medications very helfpul. Dentists apparently can prescribe something more potent, but I never tried. Some things that helped to some degree include: brushing teeth frequently to keep the mouth clean, but avoiding toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate; avoiding tomatoes, oranges, peaches; eating plain yogurt; washing mouth with salt water several times each day Finally sore-free


A huge help has been Rembrant Canker Sore toothpaste. They claim that it takes care of 80% of canker sores according to studies, and I would say that is true for me. I forget the name of the canker-sore causing ingrediant (lauryl sulfate maybe?) that is in almost all other toothpaste, but this Rembrant formula doesn't have it. You can definitely get it at the Walgreens on 51st and Telegraph in Oakland, or online. The true lifesaver, though, has been Triamcinolone Acetonide Dental Paste USP, 0.1%. It was first recommended to me by a doctor who suffered from canker sores in medical school; do whatever is necessary to get some as it takes care of a lot of the pain overnight. Finally, my mom has had luck with taking folic acid daily too hope this helps
http://www.tagnet.org/spiritquest/CANKER.htm

Worked out great for me Anonymous


Try black licorice, the stronger the better. It numbs the area (your whole mouth, really) and seems to help them go away faster. Try not to get something with too much sugar since that just hurts Anon
Hi there, I was a total martyr to cold sores until recently, and I am thrilled to tell you that I went from at least one outbreak a month to maybe one every six months. I was doing research online about it (honestly I would get like three or four in my mouth at once, and man, did they HURT, it sucked, my glands would swell up in my neck, I couldn't eat...you know the drill) and discovered that Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which is an ingredient in most toothpastes can sometimes cause them. I switched to a toothpaste called, believe it or not, Squigle, and they pretty much went away. I cannot begin to tell you what a relief this has been for me. The other product I found that really helped when I do get the odd one now is called Ora 5. It tastes like crap, but it makes them go away in a day or so. There's a website called www.dentist.net that sells both the toothpaste and the yucky effective medicine, and other stuff besides for canker sores. Good luck! Abbi
I have a LOT of experience with them (35+yrs). I have been plagued with them since about the age of 10. One time I had 9 all at one time!!!

Some how, many years ago, I was turned onto a B vitamin that is a true miracle - Pentothenic Acid. I have often taken it every day (for years at a time) to prevent them. I am back on it again and if I don't take it religously every day then after about a week I can feel one coming on.

Pentothenic Acid is a simple B vitamin, expelled in the urine. It can be taken daily even at high doses with no side effects. Currently, for prevention, I take 250mg/day. If I miss several days and feel one comming on, or if I miss long enough to get one, I take 250mg 3x/day (5x/day for the last sore that was particularly long and painful).

I swear by this 1000% and would never live with out Pen. Acid. But, there was a couple of months about 7 yrs ago that I was under more stress than could have previously imagined and the sores became a constant again. So I looked in a health-food store book - Prescription for Nutritional Healing (2nd edition) - and found a list of other things to add: Zinc lozenges (do not exceed recomended dosage)(helped a lot), B complex 100 3x/dy, folic acid (400mcg/dy), vit C (5000mg/dy), vit A 10,000iu/dy (do some research on dosages). The book has more to consider adding, along with more information.

With all this said, once you actually get a sore, it just has to run its coarse (usually 7-10 days or more). Then Pen. Acid helps with the pain, though last time I relied heavily on Anbesol several x/dy, especially before and after every meal.

Hope this helps - Margaret


I have plenty of experience with my own cold sores. When my immune system is down, I tend to get cold sores, swollen gums, achey teeth. I have food allergies, so eating too much sugar, wheat, dairy, not getting enough sleep, over stressed, all these things can bring on cold sores for me. Maybe I have a form of herpes,I've never checked it out. Also yeast overgrowth in the system can cause cold sores. You may want to look at what your daughter is eating....is it possible she has a wheat, or yeast sensitivity? Good luck...poor kid, it definately doesn't feel good. Cool liquids help me. anon
I get those a fair amount and every time I have to take antibiotics they get really bad. I think it has something to do with a change in the Ph in the mouth. peppermint tea has helped me, can she drink from a regular cup? you might try using some mouthwash or different toothpaste. try different things, a lot of things can change the Ph of the mouth good luck
If what you're describing is the same as a canker sore (and I'm pretty sure it is) we had amazing luck simply by eliminating toothpaste that contains sodium laurel sulfate. My 5yo had a sore that made him scream when we brushed his teeth. His dentist recommended that, and the canker sore disappeared within a couple of days. We used a kiddie-toothpaste that fit the bill, made by Welde, a German company. It's sold at the Berkeley Bowl, and comes in yellow packaging. Good luck. mom of happy mouth
From the number of responses to your post it sounds like there could be a variety of things that could be leading to your daugheter's sores. If it is indeed the result of a herpes virus, I wanted to offer some advice that has greatly helped me with my cold sore outbreaks:

When I firsted volunteering as a medic at Berkeley Free Clinic I learned that in order to replicate the herpes virus requires Arginine an amino acid. It has been found that the amino acid, Lysine, retards Arginime, so you should include in your diet foods high in Lysine and decrease the foods high in L-Arginine. This is a really good article explaining it much better than I can: http://wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances_view/1,1525,862,00.html

It's something I manage by taking over the counter Lysine supplements at the first sign of an outbreak (available at any drugstore). Once I started doing this my cold sores would disappear within hours. Im not sure the appropriate dosage of lysine for a child, but you can also regulate it through diet -- dairy, red meat and fish are all great sources of Lysine-- avoid nuts, chocolate and caffeine which are high in Arginine (if your family is vegan then you can be pretty certain this is the problem).

See the site below for a list of Arginine / Lysine balance in foods. http://www.herpes.com/Nutrition.shtml

Hope this helps. susannah


Is there a cure for Cold Sores/HSV1?

Sept 2003

Is there a cure for Cold Sores/HSV1, or is this something that I will ALWAYS have to live with? Has anyone tried ViraDerm? What about Lysine? What works to prevent an outbreak and what works to QUICKLY clear one up? I'm totally bummed out about this.... and would love to hear any advice on what to do!!
Bummed : (


Abreva is AMAZING. Expensive, but amazing - it really works. Cold sores used to stay with me for about two weeks. Now, especially if I can catch it right at the very first tell-tale tingle, i can prevent the outbreak entirely. If I don't catch it that early, Abreva still helps - the sores are much smaller than they would be untreated, and they go away much much much faster (two days +/-). Also, make sure you stay out of the sun - that makes 'em worse. I never had much luck with any other treatment. evelyn
Herpes is opportunistic, as most viruses are, and stress plays a big role in reducing the immune system's ability to win the fight. Licorice supports the adrenals, the glands that coordinate our immune system (when not otherwise occupied with stress). Avoid with high blood pressure, however. Lysine can be helpful for the outbreak but duration is 2-3 weeks. Use with vitamin E complex. Melissa officinalis (lemon balm- grows in the garden like mint) is an effective herb available in cream specifically for cold sores. It also is a lovely, calming nervine tea. Nori Hudson
Hey-I struggled with cold sores for years until my doctor prescribed penciclovir. I used the cream because I was nursing. Just the other day I felt that all too familiar itching on my lip, looked in the miror, and my lip was already twice as big as normal. I immediately put on the cream every 2 hours as directed (I always have it with me just in case), took triple the dose of Lysine, and it went away without ever becoming a sore. Such a change from a few years ago when it would take weeks of pain and humiliation for a cold sore to heal!! Good luck! anon
While I'm not usually someone who goes out a tries ''different'' forms of medicine, a few years ago I went to a Chinese herbalist about cold sores. I had them a few times a year for 15 years before I saw him. He gave me a (very awful tasting) tea, and I've had 2 cold sores altogether in the years since. So, I would definitely recommend it as worth a try. I don't remember the name of the clinic, but it was right off Solano Ave. Good luck! Eden O'Brien-Brenner
I have suffered with cold sores since I was 11. Now I have a bottle of acyclovir on hand. The doctor gives me a prescription so that I can have the pills on me as soon as I feel the first tingle of a cold sore coming. Then I take 3 pills a day for a week. Most of the time, the cold sore never completely surfaces, but if it does, it disappears very quickly. It is a miracle drug as far as I'm concerned! living with cold sores too
Dear Bummed: Lysine did work for me, but the Dr. told me to stop using it when I was pregnant. Blistex (the white and red tube) works well for me in terms of prevention. Make it your lip balm of choice, and hopefully, you'll be able to stave off the outbreaks, too. Good Luck!
Unfortunately there is no cure for cold sores/HSV1. It is a virus, and there are no cures for viruses. You will always have it in your system. Your best bet for quickly stopping an outbreak is to take Zovirax (Acyclivor). It is a prescription medicine. It works wonderfully for me....at the first sign of a cold sore (tingling, etc), I take 1 or 2, and it never fully erupts. I have had severe cold sore problems my whole life, and have been so happy with this miracle medicine. As far as I know, there are no serious side effects. I wouldn't waste your money or time on anything else! Good luck! Monique Does mobuff@uclink.berkeley.edu
Zorivax is incredibly effective. Use it just as you notice the sore and it will go away in a day or two. No cure.
There is currently no cure for cold sores. However, outbreaks can be controlled. My husband has serious problems with them (e.g. outbreaks all over his face, inside his nose, etc.). He uses acyclovir (Zovirax), and if he takes a dose THE INSTANT he feels that tell-tale tingle, he can minimize or sometimes even prevent an outbreak. Also, his outbreaks are sometimes brought on by sun exposure, so if he is out in the sun for a long time, he will often take some for a 48-hour period, and can usually prevent outbreaks that way. Karen
There is an over-the-counter product, Abreva, that you apply the moment you suspect a cold sore is starting, and several times a day until it's gone. It helps a lot to reduce the severity of a cold sore and shortens healing time. It costs about $16 a tube; one tube lasts for several sores.

Lysine sort-of helps.

I've heard that numbing the sore with ice several times a day reduces the severity and shortens healing time, as part of what happens is due to inflammation alone.

Finally, one of the big catalysts for cold sores is sunburn, so use sunscreen on your lips, preferably one with zinc oxide. anonymous


I have to admit, I have more to learn about this. But, given that--I do get cold sores periodically. I have found one thing to be VERY effective in heading them off at the pass (at the tingly-spot stage): a tiny bottle I got at some health-food store, called Cold Sores Begone! Amazing stuff. (Hey, it has a website! http://www.csbegone.com/) And if that doesn't do it, applying Campho-Phenique *gel* 4 times a day makes it dry up and heal very quickly. Those are the only two products I've found to be effective, period. Jennie

Kindergartener in my son's class has cold sores

March 2002

I'm trying hard to determine the appropriate measured response to the following situation. About three weeks ago, I participated in a field trip for my son's kindergarten class. I noticed that one of his little classmates had a severe outbreak of cold sores on and around her mouth. I was surprised that her parents would send her to school in this kind of shape and that the teachers hadn't made mention of this to the parents. The thought passed. Then, a week later, sure enough, my son had cold sores for the first time ever on both sides of his mouth. I am a pretty cool customer in general, but I was apoplectic. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps not. I called his teacher to leave a message - couldn't stop in to speak to her in person as I was on my way out of town on business - and came home to find a flyer sent home from his teacher from the Contra Costa Department of Public Health outlining various communicable diseases and their treatments. As for my son, the problem seemed to have cleared itself up. For now. So I'm wondering what to do, and my choices seem to be: to let it go, to speak to the head of the school, or to let the teacher know how upset I am that this kid was allowed in school in the first place and am wondering about what kind of hygiene is practiced among these kids. My son goes to a private school in case that information makes a difference. Thanks for your input.


I think I will ask our pediatrician what she would suggest, especially as she has young school-aged children too. In the past I've had to ask older children to NOT touch my young son (who had eczema which is highly susceptible to infection). There definitely needs to be more education about this issue; cold sores are so common, and therefore often not taken seriously.
I'd be livid if I were in your situation. These kind of things drive me crazy (even parents sending kids to school with snotty colds get me going). I think I'd speak to to the head of the school and to the teacher. I suppose if you really wanted to get on the bandwagon you could talk to the Parent Organization and other parents....I'm all for taking this somewhere and not letting it go. Good luck. June
You're right that the little girl with the cold sores should have been treated like she was contagious (she was!). You certainly should address this with the school. The information missing in your post is what you did with your child during the time he was contagious and you were away on business. Was he out of school while he was infectious? Its a fine line we all walk... Heather
I agree with your concern about children coming to school in a health-compromised state. I think there are many parents who simply send their children to school sick beacuse it is a distruption of their workday, and they feel they can't do anything about it! Cold-sores are a form a of herpes and are very contageous. I would definitely have a conversation with both the teacher and the principal to set guidelines or agree on enforcing the guidelines that already exist. Amazingly, BUSD schools don't have school nurses (there is 1 for the whole district I hear), so the responsibility of evaluating kids' health falls on the teacher or school secretary. Considering all the kids with asthma, various disabilities (emotional and otherwise), playground accidents, food allergies, etc. it is amazing more children don't die at school! I have had many conversations about this issue over the past couple of years. Public health is a real problem in our schools, it is just not one that gets a lot of attention until there is a serious emergency, like everything else. Claire
I think that you should call the parents, the teacher and the principal, all of whom are responsible for dealing with this problem. I had a similar problem when my infant was in daycare. One child came to daycare with obvious cold sores on his mouth after being out for only one day. He had a note from his doctor saying that he was okay to be back, and that was sufficient for the teachers to let him back in, despite the fact that he would be touching other children and mouthing and sharing toys with other children all day long. It would have been impossible for the other children not to be exposed. I took my child home and never returned to that daycare! I expressed my concern to the teacher who said that she could only follow the official rule (that says that a note form a doctor is sufficient) and I wrote a letter to the director who did not even respond. I think that children who are not old enough to understand and practice proper hygiene should not be allowed to go to school/daycare with cold sores. I think that there should be much more awareness and concern in schools/daycare centers about this issue. a parent
It doesn't matter whether it is private or public school. When you first noticed the sick child would have been the appropriate time to speak up. The child should have been sent to the office immediately and anot allowed onthe field trip. I know this sounds cruel but your child got sick as a result. The fact that a notice was sent home later tells me other children got sick as well. I would speak to the principal and let them know that a child's disappointment at not being allowed on a field trip due to sickness should not be a priority over exposing other children to that same sickness. At my daughters school, the teacher makes the children use the antibacterial cleaners or wipes instead of using the sink to wash their hands. It's not as messy and they actually end up getting sick less often. Just a suggestion to pass along. marianne
You are never going to please all the people all the time. In a child care situation where staff are washing their hands constantly, removing ''mouthed'' toys immediately and disinfecting them, changing sheets daily, etc...there is still illness. It's a constant battle. Clearly, admitting a child who has cold sores requires staff to be vigilent. It has been suggested by several reliable sources that a child only be excluded if he is a biter or drools uncontrollably as the virus is transmitted through direct contact. To working parents exclusion of their child for 10-14 days is not realistic. We try our very best in this field to provide quality care for young children, but we can't please everyone. A conscientious care giver
I've seen several people suggesting use of antibacterial wipes or other antibacterial products as a way of stopping the spread of disease between children--in this case, cold sores. There is a big misconception that these antibacterial products are useful. In fact, most childhood illnesses are viral, not bacterial; this includes cold sores (which are caused by the herpes virus). The main thing antibacterial products do is cause the proliferation of antibacterial-product-resistant bacteria. An Anti-antibacterial Mom
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