Keeping your confidence when a cold sore hits
When cold sore remedies prove ineffective, the best advice is to simply grin and bear it. Now, we realise that, for some people, that is way, way easier said than done. The constant pressure on people to always look their best means that a cold sore outbreak can be very distressing, but it needn’t be so.
It’s worth saying that there are some absolutely terrific remedies and treatments out there, from effective ointments to prevention through lifestyle choices (just read our past blog posts for some handy guidance on how to give yourself the best chance of avoiding the dreaded symptoms). However, sometimes the HSV-1 virus is too persistent, and it may manifest itself regardless. At that point, aside from applying a cream that will help speed up the process, there isn’t a whole lot you can do apart from wait it out.
So, if you’re the type of person that would rather shut themselves away from the world for the duration of a cold sore’s life cycle, here are a few bits of advice on how to persevere.
A reassuring reality check
Firstly, it may help your state of mind to know some of the facts. The truth is that you’re far from alone; it is thought that around 80 per cent of people carry the type 1 herpes simplex virus, and even though the virus lies dormant in a lot of cases, there is still a considerable proportion of carriers who will experience symptoms. The bottom line is that cold sores are a very common problem, so you shouldn’t get yourself down about having them.
Forget about it
You’ve surely heard of the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”, right? The same can apply to how you approach your cold sores. While we don’t recommend completely avoiding mirrors (keeping a non-judgemental eye on the symptoms to check that there isn’t anything outside the norm is certainly a good idea), there is no point in obsessively checking the cold sores throughout the day. This will serve only to drive your stress further, constantly keeping your blemish on your mind and, therefore, leading to more mirror checking. And so, a vicious circle is created, serving no other purpose than to ruin your mood and heighten your anxiety levels.
This applies to how much you check the affected area by touching it as well. If you want to heal as quickly as possible, here’s some reliable advice: don’t pick, not even a little. Your body should be able to heal itself just fine without any external help from your fingers. Sometimes picking can be a result of the anger and frustration caused by yet another breakout, while other times it can simply be an unmindful habit. Either way, it is important that you make a conscious effort to not interfere with the cold sore at all. If you’ve become aware that the amount you check your symptoms is starting to be disruptive, try to take note of and gradually limit the time you spend fixated on them.
There is, unfortunately, still a stigma attached to cold sores, leading to sufferers becoming embarrassed whenever an outbreak strikes.
Depending on how noticeable your cold sore is (or rather how noticeable you think it is), you may feel uncomfortable being out in the open, such as on a busy high street with many passing eyes scanning over you. As a response to the worry of what people might think of you, you may feel the need to try to cover up the affected area as much as possible, such as with make-up or a strategically worn scarf, or to diligently keep your head down.
But this will only reinforce the idea that you have something to hide. Instead, how about stepping outside, keeping your head up, and walking with confidence? Doing this might test your own preconception of how people are reacting to you, allowing you to realise that, in reality, no one is bothered. If the thought of doing this is enough to induce panic, then you can try some deep breathing exercises to help relieve anxiety.
While these tips may not be a one-way, first class express ticket to unstoppable confidence, they will hopefully help you gain a bit of optimism, calmness, and perspective, allowing you to regain control. After all, let’s face it, it would be silly to let an insignificant sore get the better of you, wouldn’t it?