Christmas Stress

Red Christmas Baubles

I love Christmas. It’s always a wonderful time spent with family and friends. It’s just the lead up to it that is stressful! And sometimes when we are stressed our body starts failing us. Our immune system gets run down and annoying things pop out, like mouth ulcers and cold sores for instance.

A mouth ulcer is a painful pale coloured sore on the moist inner skin of the mouth. Stress is a major cause of mouth ulcers but other causes include injuries, low vitamin B’s, iron deficiency, as well as some more serious causes. The best way to prevent mouth ulcers is to avoid the triggers. However avoiding these is not always possible. For one, Christmas IS coming!

So if you do find yourself with a mouth ulcer or three, the first treatment you’ll need, is to ensure good oral  

hygiene, like using hot salty water to rinse your mouth after eating. Products such as gels that ease the pain are available from your pharmacy, as well as pastes that stick to the ulcer, protect it from further damage and promote healing.

Since low Vitamin B’s can be a cause of mouth ulcers, it is worth considering a Vitamin B complex supplement for a short time. It’s also a good idea to check with your local pharmacist and make sure there is nothing sinister to worry about.

Cold sores can also be activated by stress. Once caught, the herpes virus lies dormant in your body until activated, often at a most inconvenient moment (Christmas photos!!) and starts by tingling near where the blister is going to occur, typically on the lips. Within a few hours one or more blisters form which are usually very painful. Unfortunately the blister itself is infectious so that means kissing under the mistletoe is at the kissee’s own risk!

Once you have had your first cold sore you remain infected, so there is no absolute cure.  It can be re-activated by stress, sunburn, colds and flu’, dental work, and being run down.

Many medicines are available at your local pharmacy – from tablets that are taken as soon as warning signs develop, to creams or medicated patches that treat the cold sore with specific antiviral medicine. Some studies have found that taking lysine on a regular basis may help prevent outbreaks of cold sores.

Remember to take care of yourself leading up to Christmas you can give Santa that kiss under the mistletoe!