Product Type: Boots in Health Misc
Newest Review: ... be used for, as there is nothing printed on the actual device, aside from the familiar Boots logo and ambiguous 'For Personal Use Only'... more
Zap the Blighters!!!
Boots Advanced Electronic Cold Sore Treatment
Member Name: Teteenlair
Boots Advanced Electronic Cold Sore Treatment
Advantages: Clean, stops pain, improves appearance
Disadvantages: Substantial initial outlay, not as portable as a small tube of cream
Boots Electronic Cold Sore Treatment has been on the market a little while and I had toyed with the idea of it for some time, but this particular day on discovering this particular cold sore, just a month or two after the last one, something snapped within me. I would try anything!!
***A LITTLE BIT ABOUT COLD SORES***
Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus and don't necessarily have anything to do with that 'other' type of Herpes (you know the one I mean). People who have never caught a cold sore from someone will not get them. The virus lies dormant in your system until 'activated' through close contact with someone who has one - usually by kissing a relative with a cold sore during childhood. Once activated however, they will crop up of their own accord, whenever they feel like it. They are usually triggered by illness, cold winds, strong sunlight, stress, fatigue, generally feeling run down, menstruation, and so on and so forth. Some people can have one cold sore and then never get another but they are the lucky few and generally, once the beast within you has been awoken, you're stuck with it for life.
Cold sores generally start with an itching or tingling sensation at any point on or around the lips. Around the time of the tingle there may be no visible signs of the cold sore and if caught at this stage it is possible to prevent the breakout altogether, though as I said I seem to bypass that stage now. If left to develop, cold sores break out into a whitish blister or cluster of small blisters, usually accompanied by a swelling of the affected lip and a throbbing pain and general sensitivity of the area. After a couple of days the swelling goes down and the blisters turn into a sort of yellow/green weeping crust. The constant throbbing will probably have stopped but the affected area still hurts if touched, or can crack when you try to smile. After another couple of days the crusting will turn into a more acceptable normal-looking scab and probably won't hurt any more. The scab will eventually come off and you'll be left just with a red mark and/or tight skin on your lip before it disappears completely. From tingle to dropping off stage usually takes 7-10 days, though I've known it be a good two or three weeks before I feel and look completely back to normal.
***A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CLAIM***
According to the box, Boots Electronic Cold Sore Treatment "works by using an invisible, narrow waveband of light to enhance the local immune response to the cold sore virus. The light treatment reduces the duration of the attack and speeds up the healing time." Further reading on the information leaflet tells us that this "new, therapeutic technology was discovered by researchers who analysed the effect of an invisible, infra-red ray of light on cold sore healing times. One particular wavelength of light was found to enhance the local immune response to the cold sore infection and to either help stop the attack or speed up the healing time."
***A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE PACKAGING AND PRODUCT***
Boots Electronic Cold Sore Treatment is a Boots brand and therefore can only be found on the pharmacy counter in Boots stores. No prescription is needed and the cost is £34.99. After the initial outlay, you will also need to buy batteries as and when they need replacing, the 9v batteries that the device takes retail for around £1.50-£2.00.
BECST comes in a metallic silvery and blue box with an image of the lower half of a face with target circles on the lip. The rear of the box gives some brief directions and shows an illustration of the device in use. Inside the box you will find the device along with a 9v battery and a detailed information and instruction leaflet.
The device itself is made from white plastic and is rectangular in shape, about an inch square by five inches long. It has one button and an LED light, and one end is curved to fit snugly over the mouth. This end has a hollow in which you can see a further two LED type bulbs, like the ones you get on the end of a remote control. It takes one square 9v battery (like the type that goes in smoke alarms), and this was straightforward to insert.
BECST comes with a 2 year warranty in addition to your statutory rights. If the product shows any defect in materials or workmanship within two years, and has been used in accordance with the instructions, Boots will repair or replace it free of charge if you return it along with proof of purchase.
***A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW TO USE IT***
The instructions say to use the BECST at the tingling stage then again 12 hours later, or for more persistent cold sores, it can be used twice a day for three days. They do say though that the treatment can be carried out more frequently without any adverse effect.
To use, place the device over the affected part of the mouth (it fits over almost my whole mouth anyway) and press the start button. The device will beep once and the green LED will begin to flash. After three minutes the device will beep twice to signal the end of the treatment.
The instructions state that you should not share the device even with members of your own family, but it also recommends that you wipe the device with antiseptic before use so if you do this I can't see there being a problem. The cynical side of me says that Boots are trying to make everyone buy their own device so that they make more money - surely this couldn't be true??
Finally, there are detailed instructions on how to fit, replace and dispose of the batteries.
***A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE***
Since I bought this product about 5 weeks ago, I have had two separate opportunities to try it out (see, I told you I was a martyr!)
The first time was as described at the beginning of this review- I decided to buy the device upon discovering I had the cold sore. I was busy that day so didn't have chance to read the instructions and try it out until about 6pm, by which time it had developed into a full sore.
I put the device over my mouth and pressed the button. Beep. Then nothing. The green LED on the front flashed intermittently. I pulled it away to peer at the LEDs inside and nothing again. I had a distinct 'Emperor's New Clothes' feeling - I'd spent all this money, but could neither hear, see, feel nor smell this product actually doing anything. And three minutes is a Long Time when you're holding a piece of plastic to your mouth and trying to look inconspicuous.
However, after my first go I felt the pain disappear straight away. This was enough to hearten me and I began using it more often over the next few days, after all the leaflet said there'd be no adverse effects. The cold sore did improve markedly and quickly, and seemed to bypass the horrible yellow crust stage, but I found that using the device as frequently as I did the first time must have fried it somehow and I ended up with quite a bad and noticeable red scab for about a week. Even so, this was better than my normal cold sore experience of yellow weeping lips and throbbing pain.
Then only a couple of weeks after this one had cleared up I was washing my face one morning and felt a sharp pain when I touched my lip. I couldn't believe it - so soon after the last one! I jumped straight out of the shower and looked in the mirror. I could see three tiny separate blisters already formed. I grabbed my zapper and again the pain relief was immediate. Having learnt my lesson from over-using it the last time, this time around I used more sparingly - morning, lunchtime, teatime and before bed. I think the combination of the fact that I'd caught this one early and wasn't blasting it quite so harshly made a massive difference. The cold sore never fully developed past those three tiny blisters and they just seemed to go down rather than weep or dry out and form scabs. It wasn't painful at all and my lip did not swell at all. In just a week my lip was completely back to normal, but even during that week my cold sore really wasn't noticeable.
I feel I should point out that I did use the device alongside a cream, just to be sure, but I've definitely had a much better cold sore experience than normal both times.
The main drawback with this device is that although it's not that big or heavy, it is a little too cumbersome to carry about in your handbag every day (I always carry a little tube of cold sore cream with me just in case, so I can get it as early as possible). Also, there is no way of locking the device in the off position, so it has on occasion pressed against something in my bag and switched itself on. Once on, you have to wait for it to run its course, so three minutes of flashing of the light will wear the battery down unnecessarily, albeit only a tiny bit.
I think people who don't get cold sores probably regard them much like an occasional spot - annoying but really nothing. But fellow sufferers will know how painful they are and how ugly and dirty they can make you feel, and this device improves both the pain and the appearance of the cold sore and for that it's worth every penny to me.
I'm not really sure what's stopping me giving it five stars to be honest, I guess it's just the niggling feeling that I can't be 100% sure that it's all down to the device...
Summary: The closest I've ever got to a miracle cure
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