In this article, I discuss natural cold sore treatments that work quickly and effectively. Cold sores are small blisters that occur in clusters on the lips or near the mouth. The skin that surrounds these clusters is often sore, swollen and red. These blisters often open up and let a clear liquid seep out of them. Then the blisters dry and scab within three to four days. It could take up to fourteen days for these to heal with the right cold sore treatment.
The herpes simplex virus causes the sore to occur in the first place. The body catches this virus as it enters in through an opening in the skin inside or around the mouth. It can be spread through the sufferer touching the seeping liquid and then touching objects that other people use. In addition, swapping saliva through kissing a person infected with the virus can also spread it.
The Truth About Cold Sores
Cold sores are red, pus-containing blisters that usually occur on the lips, gums, or roof of the mouth. These are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1), a highly contagious virus that, once contracted, remains inside your system permanently.
This virus is present in millions of people, many of whom were infected at an early age. In fact, as many as 90% of us have been exposed to the herpes virus infection. Most of the time, we don’t show any symptoms. Note: This virus is different from the one that causes genital herpes, which is Herpes Simplex Type 2.
Cold sores tend to appear when the body’s immune system is run down or when there is some sort of injury to that skin area. For example being sick, under stress, not getting enough sleep, eating poorly or getting sunburnt in the area can aggravate and bring on a cold sore for some people.
Cold Sore Symptoms
There may be pain or tingling one to two days before the cold sores appear. The sores last anywhere from one to two weeks. Sometimes cold sores are confused with canker sores, which are not contagious but produce small, painful ulcers in the soft tissues of the mouth, such as the tongue and the walls of the mouth.
Before a cold sore appears the area will sometimes tingle, feel slightly raised and may appear red and itchy. This pain or tingling feeling can often be felt a couple of days before any sores or blisters appear. A cold sore typically starts off as a small, ﬂuid- ﬁlled blister, or cluster of blisters, which goes through a series of phases. The blister will usually weep and form a scab or crusting before healing and disappearing completely.
The most contagious stage of cold sores is when the blisters have burst open and ﬂuid has begun to ooze out. The pus in these blisters contains millions of virus cells, so it is to avoid contact with persons who are at this stage as much as possible. Since the virus remains inside the infected person forever, recurrences are always a possibility. The best course is to prevent an outbreak by identifying all possible triggers and knowing the remedies to make occurrences as comfortable as possible.
What to do if you have a cold sore now?
So, if you have a cold sore now that is coming, but not yet blistered (i.e. skin hasn’t burst). If you are fortunate enough to know you have one coming (although you don’t feel very fortunate the moment you realize this). We can probably stop it if you can get to a pharmacy. You will need to buy three or four basics off the shelf products. What if it has blistered and burst? Now you need to minimize the risk of infection and passing the virus on to others. We also need to prevent the forming of a scab or reduce its size.
Natural Cold Sore Treatment
There are many things you can do at home for cold sores treatment that will alleviate or prevent the symptoms of this issue. Check out some of the things below:
Lemon balm applied to the area fights off the herpes simplex virus. It has antiviral qualities that promote healing in the blisters within just about five days. The nice thing is that this balm can be used on a regular basis to keep the lips healthy and blister free.
Apply petroleum jelly helps the blisters heal, and keeps bacteria from getting into the blisters and causing a more serious infection. The petroleum jelly keeps the skin soft so that the blisters heal from the inside out instead of from the outside in and this is why more severe infections are averted.
Using sunscreen on your lips can prevent cold sores from recurring from exposure to the sun. You need to use SPF 15 or higher to accomplish this.
Don’t ever touch your cold sore. This will do nothing but spread the virus. When the virus spreads, you could break out with more blisters.
The topical ointment that contains zinc could help heal cold sores. Zinc is a healing mineral that has even been used in diaper rash creams over the years. There is some proof that it also helps heal the blisters that come with the herpes simplex virus.
The essential amino acid lysine helps the body produce antibodies that fight infections. You have to get lysine through food and supplements, as your body does not produce this essential amino acid. This is effective at slowing down the growth of the herpes simplex virus.
Abreva is an OTC (over-the-counter) that is specifically designed to combat the herpes simplex virus. Many people have reported success with this solution. Just apply according the instructions on the package.
Research shows the honey can be as effective if not more so than medication for healing skin issues. This includes cold sores. Raw honey gives off a small quantity hydrogen peroxide, as it is applied on the skin. The honey has other antiviral properties that also help the cold sore to heal.
Green tea is full of antioxidants that help fight off the free radicals in the body. This will help combat the herpes simplex virus in the body. In addition, you can make a compress out of this tea to hold on the cold sores. This can help heal the blisters.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil applied several times a day will promote healing with the blisters. This oil is a highly effective topical antifungal and antiseptic. It helps speed up healing of skin issues including cold sores.
Hydrogen peroxide works well on the blister stage. However, once the blisters start to heal, you do not want to use it, as it will shock the healthy skin tissue and could damage it.
Note: One important note here is never to apply anything to a cold sore directly with your fingers. Instead, use a cotton swab to apply the topical solution of your choice. This way, your hands will not spread the virus to other areas of the body or people. These are just some of the effective cold sores treatments available to you today. It is easy to rid yourself of cold sores, but it does take the right solution. You also need to apply the right solution enough times to heal all of the blisters. Be cautious around people who have cold sores, so that you will not catch the herpes simplex virus from them.
Managing Your Cold Sore Symptoms at Home
- Most cold sores heal on their own. But these are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms at home:
- Place a cool, wet towel on the sores 3 times a day for 20 minutes each time to help reduce redness and swelling.
- Use a mouth rinse that has baking soda to soothe a sore mouth.
- Avoid foods that contain acid (such as citrus fruits and tomatoes).
- Avoid exposing your lips to sunlight for long periods. Use sunscreen at all times on your lips (in a lip balm form) and face, especially in the areas where you tend to have cold sores.
- Avoid intimate contact (such as kissing) with people who have cold sores or genital herpes.
- Avoid foods that seem to cause your cold sores to recur.
- Avoid sharing towels, razors, silverware, toothbrushes, or other objects that a person with a cold sore may have used.
Effective Natural Cold Sore Treatments at Home
These easy but effective home remedies can take away some of the pain and discomfort while you cope with cold sores.
Cover the Cold Sore
Covering a cold sore with petroleum jelly will help it to heal faster and help protect it from secondary infection with bacteria. Putting a local anesthetic ointment containing benzocaine on the cold sore can also act to numb the pain temporarily. On the other hand, attempting to hide a cold sore with makeup often aggravates the problem, as the chemicals in makeup can make the sore worse. Sharing lipstick or makeup can transmit a cold sore from one person to another.
Change Your Toothbrush
Get a new toothbrush after the blister has formed and again after the attack has cleared up. The virus can live there for days and re-infect you with another cold sore. Consult your healthcare provider if you have frequent or severe cold sores. In some cases, they can prescribe an antiviral medication called acyclovir.
Protect Your Lips from the Sun
Apply sunscreen to your lips because sunlight can cause your cold sores to reappear. Look for a sunscreen designed especially for the lips that have an SPF of 15 or higher. Or, wear a lipstick that contains sunscreen.
Don’t Touch It
Don’t squeeze, pinch or pick a cold sore. These actions can cause bacterial infection. Also, because cold sores are extremely contagious, avoid kissing and sharing cups, towels or other such items. Wash your hands often, especially after touching the cold sore. And be careful not to touch your eyes or genitals immediately after touching the sore. It’s a good idea to carry hand sanitizer in case you accidentally scratch your cold sore and there’s no wash basin handy.
When a cold sore is not ﬂaring up on your lip, it’s sleeping in the nerves below your skin, just waiting for a reason to wake up. And what triggers its alarm clock?
- Infection, colds, and ﬂu
- Ultraviolet radiation, such as a sunburn
- Changes in the immune system -Trauma
- Food allergies
- Dental work
Some of these triggers can be avoided by practicing stress-relieving techniques like exercise, meditation, yoga or reading. Avoid acidic and salty foods like potato chips or citrus fruits as they can further irritate cold sores and add to the pain.
Studies show that glycyrrhizic acid, an ingredient in licorice, stops the cold sore virus cells dead in their tracks —- so try chewing a licorice whip. Just be sure it’s made from real licorice since most “licorice” candy on the market is ﬂavored with anise. If the ingredient list reads “licorice mass,” the product contains real licorice.
You could also buy licorice powder and sprinkle it on the sore, or mix up a cream with a pinch of licorice powder and a smidgen of pure vegetable shortening, then apply to the sore. Remember, though – don’t overdo it! Just as with any medicine, real 1icorice’s medicinal effects can cause serious side effects if used in large amounts over long periods of time.
Surprising Natural Cold Sore Treatments
Below are some additional effective ways to treat cold sores.
If you ice a cold sore when it ﬁrst shows up, you may cut down on the amount of time it hangs around. Ice packs and cold compresses will provide some temporary relief. A tasty popsicle will feel good, too, but skip the juice bars. Their acid content may irritate that major irritation even more. Super-cold drinks, such as slushes or smoothies, are another tasty way to provide comfort.
This remedy doesn’t involve drinking. Soak a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the sore to relieve pain. Better yet, if you feel the tell-tale tingling before the cold sore surfaces, go straight to the cold milk. It can help speed the healing right from the beginning.
Cold sores may be triggered by stress. Try sucking on zinc lozenges to boost the immune system during stressful times.
Acetone is a powerful disinfectant and drying agent that is commonly found in nail polish remover. Strangely enough, some people claim that it destroys the cold sore virus and can banish your cold sores in about 1-2 days. Here’s the procedure they follow: Dab nail polish remover on the cold sore with a clean cotton swab and hold it for about 10-30 seconds. Wait about an hour and a half and repeat with a new cotton ball to avoid infection. Repeat this several times a day until it has dried out.
Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and place on the sore and hold it there. The itching and pain should be gone within 15 minutes. Repeat this procedure with a new, clean cotton ball every 10minutes to avoid infection. The cold sore should dry up in about one to two hours. Caution: Acetone may cause an allergic reaction in people with sensitive skin. Some people have also reported chemical burns on their skin and mouth.