Caroline Schira, CEO of Diamond Heels AG, explains how she conquered her cold sores
Herpes blisters are difficult to control – even well-known stars such as Alexa Chung and Katie Holmes have not been able to beat them yet, although they can afford to seek the help of top doctors and the best treatments.
Herpes: widespread but rarely talked about
Close to 85% of adults around the world carry the herpes simplex 1 virus, the cause for typical cold sores. Nevertheless, for many of those affected, herpes is a taboo subject, because the illness is – often unjustly – associated with sex.
The unsightly cold sores on the lips can significantly impact people both physically and emotionally. “For 30 years, I have suffered from the symptoms of cold sores”, said Caroline Schira (35). “The cold sores just come back as soon as one bout is over. They really bother me, since I am CEO of Diamond Heels AG, a fashion company, and every day I meet with customers and licensees. This means it is important that my outward appearance is faultless and sophisticated.” Cold sores are not only ugly, they demand a specific and thorough hygiene regime so that others aren’t infected. Because the burst blisters are so contagious, even a kiss on the cheek should be avoided. Unwashed dishes, flatware or hand towels can also transfer the virus to other people. Caroline Schira knows this from experience: “Once the cold sores appear, you need to stop using lipstick to avoid transferring the virus to other parts of the skin. It is simply distressing when you often have to face other people with these cold sores disfiguring your face.”
A weakened immune system is the number 1 trigger
In Caroline Schira’s case, the herpes outbreaks started already when she was a young child. When she was just five, the boisterous and lively child started to suffer from recurrent cold sores. The outbreaks continued into her adulthood. In particular when Caroline is under a lot of stress or a flu is setting in, she can count on another outbreak – this is typical for the illness. An immune system weakened by stress or a cold, conditions with strong sunlight, extreme sports, hormonal changes or even feelings of aversion – all these make the virus’ job easier and this can result in cold sores. Today, Caroline is building up a young company that is marketing its product – custom designed high heels – through licensees. A full appointment calendar means that the CEO always on the go, with meetings with licensees or manufacturers every day. The impact on appearance caused by herpes infection has led to ever increasing mental stress. Even a visit with a doctor who prescribed well-known herpes drugs for Caroline was not able to help – the cold sores outbreaks continued. The more pressure she was under, the more frequent were the outbreaks. “I was frustrated and had stopped looking for a solution. The recurrent outbreaks gnawed at my self-esteem. I felt ugly and unattractive. I was starting to think I should resign. Then I met an entrepreneur at a business event who told me that his company developed a new gel to prevent the symptoms of lip herpes that is now available on the market. I asked him for a sample and thought, sure, I’d give it a try. I did not have a lot of hope that it would help. This is what made it even more exciting when the blisters actually stayed away! Even after 6 months and still after 9 months, I was still free of cold sores if I used the gel regularly,” explained the Swiss CEO.
For the first time, a prophylaxis from Switzerland
The product, the lip gel known as lipivir®, is produced by an innovative Swiss company (Devirex AG). The colourless gel with a slight lemony taste is made of polyethylene glycols and has a high probability of preventing the appearance of cold sores. Instead of treating the blisters only once they are already noticeable and the outbreak can no longer be prevented, the gel is used as a prophylaxis. For those who suffer from recurrent cold sores, lipivir® can help prevent them before they appear.
Caroline Schira is thrilled with the gel: “I was so excited that even after 9 months I still had no more cold sores. It was like a miracle! And the great thing about the product is that you can still use your usual cosmetics such as lipstick or skin creams after using it. lipivir® is colourless and discrete. Even when I use the gel during the day, nobody notices!”
Best results only with regular use
The gel must be used regularly to achieve adequate protection – Caroline Schira knows this from experience: “After 9 months, I became more careless and kept forgetting to use the product regularly. I saw the effect right away, when the cold sores quickly returned. As someone with frequent outbreaks, now I always have a tube on hand.” She never wants to go back to those times when the herpes symptoms were visible to all. Now that Caroline Schira has her cold sores under control, she feels like a stigma has been lifted: “Now people see my product when I talk to them!”
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