Cold sore triggers & prevention

The best way to deal with cold sores is to manage your triggers

Even if you have one or multiple cold sore triggers, these tend to fall within a few similar categories. Many of these suppress your immune system or cause damage to the mouth and allow the virus to attack.

By understanding what triggers your cold sores, you can proactively take charge and defend yourself against future outbreaks.

Cold weather

Winter is your cold sore season. Protect yourself from the elements. Wear a scarf or pull up that turtleneck to avoid exposure to cold weather, dry air and winter wind that can dry out lips. Use lip protectant to ensure your lips are moisturized.

How to put the freeze on cold sores

Sunlight exposure

Summertime is cold sore time for you. Go on the offensive against sun exposure. Not only can ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage your skin, but sun exposure can also trigger cold sores. So fight back by using lip balm with SPF, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and using a beach umbrella.

How to stay cold sore free this summer


Be sure to keep your stress level in check. Stress messes with emotions and can also wear down your immune system, giving that dormant cold sore a chance to launch a sneak attack. Fight the urge to stress out. Instead, breathe deeply and relax.

Learn how to keep stress in check

Dental trauma

Some dental procedures can pull at the sensitive area around your mouth, causing trauma to your mouth or lips that can launch a cold sore outbreak. If this is one of your triggers, make your dentist an ally and join forces to minimize trauma.

Discover the link between dental work and cold sores


Your lack of sleep may be triggering your cold sore. In today’s hectic world, feeling “beat” can give cold sores the advantage. So relax. Exercise. And most of all, sleep. A good night’s rest can recharge your immune system and help protect you from the virus.

Want to get a good night’s sleep?

Under the weather

A fever, a cold or the flu can leave you feeling run-down and on the defense against a cold sore outbreak. When you feel a cold, fever or the flu coming on, listen to the experts and get plenty of rest and fluids. It could be just what you need to knock out a cold sore.

Want to give your immune system a boost?

Hormonal changes

For women, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can trigger an outbreak. Pay attention to your own hormonal cycle and watch for signs of a cold sore so you can treat it early.

Learn more about hormonal changes

Target your triggers

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If you're susceptible to stress-triggered cold sores, it's important to plan for big days. Follow these planning tips from Zovirax today.

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Worried about going to the dentist with a cold sore? Zovirax provides tips on how to manage cold sores for you dentist appointment. Learn more today.

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The best medicine for healthy lips is a diet of whole, healthy foods. Follow these diet tips from Zovirax today and achieve luscious lips.

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