Cold Sore Treatment
There are high chances that you’ve had cold sores at least once in your life. A cold sore, also called a fever blister, is a blister-like sore on your lip or at the corner of your mouth. The initial symptom of the sores is a tingling sensation in the affected area and later the site feels like its burning. The burning sensation is then followed by an outbreak of a red sore which interferes with your good look. The sore will after a few days break open, produce some discharge and crust over. The open sore will take approximately seven to ten days to heal by themselves.
The open cold sores make your life very difficult before they heal as they are not only painful but also interfere with your smile. Cold sores can also develop inside your mouth, making it difficult for you to chew food since they can be extremely painful. In your mouth, these sores are characterized by white splotches.
What causes cold sores?
The major cause of cold sores is a virus known as herpes simplex (HSV-1) although HSV-2 can also be responsible in fewer cases. Approximately nine out of every ten people have this virus worldwide and the majority of them gets it during their juvenile years. Unfortunately, just like many viruses, herpes simplex doesn’t have a cure. Once it enters your body, it remains in your system only that sometimes it remains dormant and won’t cause cold sores, among other related symptoms. However, some people keep on dealing with regular outbreaks as a result of the virus in their bodies.
Upon contracting herpes simplex, you’ll stay for just a few days before you experience an outbreak of cold sores. The first flare-up is usually accompanied by the most severe cold sore symptoms which include fever, headache, sore throats as well as extreme pain on the affected sites. Since the virus remains in your body even after the first outbreak heals, you may continue to experience regular flare-ups of the sores anytime, especially when you have an uncommon situation in your body such as stress, hormonal changes, excess exposure to sun, illness, extreme body temperatures (fever) or surgical operation.
Cold sore outbreaks may be unavoidable but there are several things someone can do to make them less severe, look better or even reduce their duration. They include home remedies as well as prescription antiviral medications which one can get over the counter. The home remedies consist of:
- Lemon balm
Lemon balm contains mint, a property which assists in the reduction of the redness and the inflammation caused by the sores. The application of the balm on your lips also reduces your vulnerability to the flare-ups of the blisters. A lip balm with 1% lemon balm will be of great help.
Although ice may not affect the time an outbreak takes before healing, it eases the discomfort as well as the swelling related to cold sores. When you have the sores, apply an ice pack directly on them and you feel relief, although in short-term.
- Aloe vera
The aloe vera plant gel can be of great help in soothing the skin of the area affected by the cold sores. Apply the gel on directly on the blisters to reduce the present swelling since aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve it significantly. You can grow the aloe vera plant in your flowerpots or kitchen garden for quick access whenever you need it for the treatment of the sores.
- Avoiding the triggers
As we mentioned earlier, stress increases your vulnerability to cold sores. Therefore, its avoidance is paramount in the prevention of regular flare-ups of cold sores. You can avoid stress by performing physical exercises regularly, meditating as well as avoiding things in your life that may stress you up.
- Vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C increases the number of white cells in your body. These cells are the ones that fight against various diseases in your body. With ample of these cells, your body will be able to avoid cold sore outbreaks.
- Prescription treatments
Although cold sores normally disappear on their own, there are numerous prescription drugs that one can take for a quicker recovery as well as the relief of the associated symptoms such as pain and discomfort. One of such drugs is Prosurx. You can apply the topical cream on an area where you sense the symptoms of an impending cold sore to stop the outbreak of blisters. You can get some of these medications over-the-counter.
Seek doctor’s attention in case of:
A very severe attack
Sometimes cold sores come along with very severe symptoms such as pains that cause eating and drinking difficulties, hence making the victim dehydrated. In such cases, doctors usually prescribe medications which if taken on time will reduce the period of the attack.
Weak immune system
If your body has a weak immune system as a result of chemotherapy, among other causes, you are likely to have severe cold sore flare-ups. Therefore, it is paramount to seek medical attention as soon as you start feeling the symptoms of the sores to avoid serious problems.
Erythema nodosum refers to painful skin lumps of legs that can be brought about by cold sores. Although the lumps disappear by their own in three or six weeks’ time, a person having them can seek doctor’s attention for prescription medications that may make the swellings to disappear within a shorter period.
It is worth noting prescribed medications are more effective as compared to home remedies.