( I use Herb Pharm Sage which I can find at my local natural food stores)
I have succumbed to the stress. The stress of what, I'm not quite sure. I don't feel stressed - although I am busy, I am not consternated about it in the least. I am busy. I am happy. Life is good. But the only time I get fever blisters is when I'm stressed out and tired (and exposed to more sunlight than usual).
So, fever blisters. They suck. I get after my girls if they use that word, but it's the only word that describes my complete disgust with my current situation. Well, there are other words, but none that are fit to print on this blog. What are fever blisters, you ask? They are cold sores, only tiny and multiplied. They are evil incarnate. Why write about this now? Because apparently, 75% of the population suffers from cold sores. I am not alone with this banal affliction.
I'd suffered from cold sores before. I probably kissed the wrong guy in high school (sorry, Mom). But they didn't turn into anything other than the odd cold sore until DH and I went on a cross-country trip to a friend's wedding. It was a fun, but very stressful trip. I was not feeling good (at that time, I had no idea what a gluten intolerance was), it was just after 9/11, I am afraid to fly, and DH was in grad school and unable to cope with anything other than scientific experiments and completing a thesis. I planned the whole week long trip. I had an agenda. I knew where we were staying, where we were driving, how to get everywhere, what activities we were doing and I had confirmation numbers coming out of the wahzoo. We had a great time. I did the driving up and down the northern California coast. I interfaced with the flight attendants, the bed and breakfast owners, the waitresses, the hosts of our activities (which included an awesome sailboat ride on the San Francisco Bay). But I was also very anxious. I had no idea there is an Ontario, California. So when we had a layover there, I was freaking out that we made an unintended trip to Canada. We stayed at a hotel on Fisherman's Wharf and while there, I heard that the whole area was built on silt and in case of an earthquake, we'd sink right into the bay. I could not sleep while we were there. There was lots of sunshine, lots of wind...we had fun, but we came back home and I promptly ended up with a bad case of fever blisters.
Thankfully, during this evil outbreak DH and I were visiting my mom. And my mom, because she is awesomeness incarnate, happened to have made her own herbal tinctures* (herbs steeped in vodka - I told you my mom was awesome). When I emoted and obsessed about the fever blisters (which are like very tiny, painful blisters all that appeared all over my lips), she suggested dabbing sage tincture on my lips. Why sage? Sage is an antiviral. So I did as my mom suggested. Because as everyone knows, Moms Know Everything. That first outbreak lasted a good two weeks. The sage tincture stung, but it felt good at the same time. Sage tea is also recommended (steep some tea, drink it and then place the tea bag on your lips for a little while), but I find sage tincture to be faster to find and easier to use. Since then, I've had a few more outbreaks of fever blisters (I've learned to always have sage tincture in the medicine cabinet!). They occur during times of stress and usually in the spring, when I'm spending more time in the sun. The virus can lie dormant for years before re-activating. This time, it's been a year since my last outbreak.
I've also tried Abreva and lemon balm tincture (lemon balm also has antiviral properties, as does thyme and a number of other herbs). But nothing works as well for me as sage tincture. It's expensive, but it's worth it. If I catch it early enough, sometimes the symptoms last only a day. If I'm not fast enough, then the symptoms last a week. But if I didn't use sage at all, it'd be two weeks of cold sore hell. I'm a believer in sage. I've been dabbing my lips with sage tincture for a day now and the symptoms are mostly tolerable. Hopefully in a few days the evil cold sores will be on their last legs and I can stop obsessing about my lips!
*Herbal tinctures are medicines, not for drinking!
*Too much sage can be toxic. Sage can also cause an allergic reaction in some people. Please see here for possible side effects of sage.
*For a home remedy for cold sores using several herbal tinctures, see this recipe here.