Distraught mum, was at her wits ends about her teenage daughter’s cold sores Naomi, 16, whose school attendance and self confidence were being badly affected by her monthly outbreaks of cold sores.
BY Nina Thorpe, 43, a legal secretary from Ryde on the Isle of Wight 3 July, 2007
“By this summer it had got the stage where Naomi was taking four of five days a month off school because of her cold sores. She had reached that age when she was starting to have boyfriends and spent about an hour each day before school doing her hair and make up.” says Nina“We were having these awful rows every month but no matter what I said or how angry I got Naomi would not to school when she had cold sores. And despite being angry with her I could see her point. Ever since she was 12 she has had them. They break out in four or five at a time and her whole bottom lip looks blistered, red and swollen and no amount of make up can cover it up. I don’t know where she picked the cold sore virus up from, but it’s been hell ever since.”
“We have tried every medication and remedy under the sun but nothing prevents them from coming back. There are creams from the doctor that can help get rid of them once they have arrived, but even at best they take about five days to go, and at worst they hand around for weeks. I was even told once by a friend that rubbing perfume on them helped, poor Naomi was in agony as it stung like hell, and of course didn’t work.”
“But frankly this summer I became desperate. We went on a holiday to France for two weeks with Naomi’s Dad, Pete, and her younger brother Simon, and as soon as we got in the sun she had an outbreak and she barely left the apartment for the entire two weeks. I felt so sorry for her and so helpless.”
“She had a boyfriend over the summer but she ended up breaking it off because she every time she got an outbreak she’d refuse to see him and of course he got fed up so she felt it was easier to end it than to tell him about her cold sores.”
“Teenagers are sensitive enough as it is, without something like this. Naomi is a clever girl and has always done well at school but since the start of the year her school work began to fall behind because she kept bunking off. I was getting letters from the school, it was just awful.”
“After we came back from holiday I had had enough. I was seriously concerned about Naomi going into her final year of GCSE’s and taking so much time off school and I felt I was loosing the brilliant outgoing daughter I once had. I felt I had to find something for her cold sores myself. I had read an article in the paper on holiday about a device that used heat to kill the cold sores. I immediately sent off for one and I got Naomi to use it every day. It made no difference, and the cold sores came back as viciously as they always had. I also bought her fish oil supplements and zinc, which I had read can help and I made her drink green tea every morning (which she hated), but it was all to no avail.”
“I felt exhausted trying to find something that worked and was discussing with a group of other mums on a night out, when one of them mentioned something she had read in a health magazine about using liquorice to cure cold sores. The minute I got home I was straight onto the internet and put in a search for liquorice and cold sores. Immediately the Skin Shop site came up and on it was a lip treatment balm containing something called glycyrrhizic acid, which is an extract from liquorice and claimed not only to get rid of cold sores but to prevent them coming back. I ordered some then and there as it wasn’t expensive. I doubted it would work either but I felt I needed to keep trying for Naomi’s sake as no one else was going to help her and nothing the doctors gave us seemed to work.”
“The liquorice balm arrived and it was in a sweet metal tin which Naomi thought was very cool and to my amazement she seemed perfectly happy to carry it around with her. We were instructed to put it on much like a normal lip balm, so Naomi was applying it several times a day and she said it smelt and felt lovely.”
“That was in September, and Naomi hasn’t had another cold sore since. She had a slight tingling red patch last month and my heart sank as I thought here we go again, another false start. But despite the redness and tingling it never actually turned into a cold sore. This is the first time Naomi has gone more than five weeks without a cold sore in nearly four years. Obviously I am ecstatic but no where near as much as her. Its like the sparkle has returned, she is much more confident, less moody and is back into her school work. She has even started wearing her hair back again, instead of hiding behind it like a curtain and she is not plastering herself in make up every morning, which I hated as I felt she was ruining her lovely young skin. I am just so pleased I went on that drink with the girls and someone mentioned about liquorice. I can’t believe it’s not in main chemists or even suggested by doctors. It has worked better then anything else we have tried, it costs just over a tenner and one tin lasts forever, I can’t believe I finally found such a simple and cheap solution to my daughter’s problem.”
“I felt like a freak every time I got an outbreak of cold sores. A few people at school had made comments, people seem to think it’s an STD or something but I’ve never had sex, but that didn’t stop them making fun of me. I just couldn’t face going into school when they were really bad. I was worried that if boys saw me like that then word would go round and no one would want to go out with me.”
“I couldn’t understand why I was the only one in my family who had them. It seemed so unfair that there was no cure for them. When I went with mum to the doctors they didn’t seem to take it that seriously. I guess cold sores are not life threatening or anything, but they were ruining my life.”
“Mum was getting pretty fed up with me and we started rowing a lot, which we hadn’t done before. No one seemed to understand what it felt like to me. Mum tried really hard, she was the only one who actually listened and she kept coming home with new creams and stuff for me to try, she even bought back vitamins and stuff and bought this thing that looked like an iron, which didn’t work. I’d get angry with her when things didn’t work, but it wasn’t her fault.”
“When I got the Liquorice Balm I was pleased because for once it didn’t look like some horrible medical cream but came in a funky little metal tin and it was really nice to use, just like a normal lip balm. Although I liked the look and feel of it I didn’t expect it to work, it just felt like a beauty product, not a cure. But it did work. I was so excited when I hadn’t had a cold sore for two months, it felt like forever. Mum got straight on the internet and ordered five more pots, just in case I lost one or ran out. She’s even got her and dad using it too now (Simon still refuses) as she’s always been worried about catching them off me. I wear it every day now, and put it on about 5 or 6 times a day. I’m kind of addicted to it and I never go anywhere without it.”
Naomi used Liquorice Balm which costs £7.95 for 30g.