People who ski may have a higher chance of getting cold sores, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education. Skiers who subject their lips to the cold, sun and wind have a higher incidence of cold sores because of exposure to harsh elements and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays on the slopes.
Cold sores generally appear for seven to 14 days and can recur without proper protection. “People can decrease the chance of sun-induced cold sores by using ointments or lip balm when they are outside,” comments Luke Matranga, DDS, MAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry.
“Lips are the hardest area to protect because people constantly lick, rub or wipe their lips, taking off the medicine,” says Dr. Matranga. To prevent cold sores from returning, use a barrier such as a UV sun screen or opaque cream and reapply it frequently. “Ski masks are also a great way to protect lips,” Dr. Matranga notes.
If you suffer from persistent cold sores, see your dentist for different treatment options. Dr. Matranga warns that anyone may be susceptible to cold sores, therefore, blocking exposure to the elements, especially during skiing, is essential in preventing the virus from recurring.