We would like to clarify the oft repeated warning that cold sores can be passed around the body in your otherwise interesting article on cold sores (WDDTY vol 10 no 12).
The excellent book Herpes What to Do and How to Cope, by Dr Adrian Mindel and Orla Carney, clearly states that cold sores are not spread around the body by touching. While they may reappear in nearby sites, this is due to the virus choosing a different nerve to travel down.
Theoretically, at the time of the first cold sore infection, you could spread it around, but this is extremely rare. If it were not, we would commonly see children with disseminated infection as, by age 5, about one third will have caught the virus.
We were delighted to see melissa cream being suggested, as we ran a study on 68 of our members and found a satisfactory level of those reporting benefit (57 per cent), particularly if used daily. If used as soon as the tingling sensation is noticed, it prevents outbreaks.
However, the only brand of melissa cream of which we are aware is Nature's VyrBrit and this has now been withdrawn from the shops. We plan to get stocks from Germany, where it is called Lomaherpan, and will have it available by mail order.
We also did a recent study on 45 members of our Association, who found olive leaf extract (another of your suggestions) very useful.
Finally, we have read that wet teabags work because they deplete the moisture level in the skin cells, preventing replication, and that Earl Grey tea has a greater level of terpines.
You may wish to publish our address and helpline number for the benefit of your readers. Marian Nicholson,....
The Herpes Viruses Association, 41 North End, London N7 9DP
Office tel: 020 7607 9661
020 7609 9061)