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Cold Sore Treatment | Healthcare-Online

Cold Sore Treatment 

Cold Sores are small cysts that are red in color and usually contain some fluid in them. Generally, these sores pop up close to the mouth in clusters, but can appear anywhere on the face as well. Cold sores can develop on the lips, face, nose and even inside the mouth too. The cysts eventually break, leaving a crust behind. Although cold sores seem harmless, they are incurable and the chance of their recurrence is quite high because of infection. These blisters can last for up to a week if cold sore treatments are not applied and are infectious in nature, too.    

Cold Sore Causes

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is considered to be the primary cause for cold sores. Some strands of this virus, namely HSV-1 and HSV-2, can give rise to cold sores as well as genital herpes. However, HSV-1 is more likely to cause blisters on the face while HSV-2 usually leads to formation of cysts on the genitals.

Being a contagious disease, herpes infection is initially caused when you come in contact with a person who is carrying the infection. Oral sex might lead to the spreading of HSV-2 and HSV-1 to lips and genitals respectively. Moreover, the infection can also spread by kissing, sharing towels, utensils or even razors as well.

Even though the highest chance of getting herpes infection from a sufferer is when his sores are exuding fluid, but the virus can still be transferred if he does not have any blisters at all.  

Triggers for Recurrence

The herpes virus becomes inactive after the initial burst is over, but it can reemerge from its slumber at the original site or somewhere near it. Fatigue, fever, sun exposure, stress and menstruation can trigger the recurrence of the infection.

Cold Sore Treatments 

1. OTC Medications for Cold Sore

  • Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can be used for alleviating the pain that is experienced in the blisters. However, the use of aspirin should be avoided unless the patient is 20 years old since it can cause Reye Syndrome.
  • Abreva and Zilactin can be applied on the cold sores to heal them quickly. However, make sure to use these products as early as possible to get the desired results. 
  • Orajel and Anbesol are known to numb the areas around the cold sores that have developed in and around the lips or the mouth and can be used to relive the pain in the blisters.
  • Anbesol, Orajel Baby or Zilactin-L Liquid is recommended for children over the age of 2 for treating cold sore symptoms; while for 12-years old and older, Abreva works best. Consult with your doctor before giving any medication to a baby who is younger than 2 years old.  

2. Home Cold Sore Treatments

  • Applying a cold, wet cloth on the sores thrice a day for about 20 minutes to treat the swelling and redness associated with cold sores at home.
  • Rinsing with mouth wash having baking soda present in it is a good home treatment for sores present inside the mouth.
  • Stop eating tomatoes and citrus fruits, as they contain acids which cause irritation in the sores.

3. Natural Cold Sore Remedies

Remedies

Description

Lemon balm

Lemon is a potent herb when it comes to reducing the triggers of cold sores like stress and anxiety for years. Dabbing lemon balm or a cream containing lemon in it on your cold sore can help in reducing the inflammation and redness in a matter of days. You can make a tea of crushed lemon balm and apply it on your blisters using cotton balls as well.

Green tea

Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant having antiviral properties. Scientists have found that EGCG can stop the spreading of the HSV-1 virus by about 90%. Thus, having green tea regularly or applying a green tea compress on the blisters can help in healing them quickly.

Zinc

Studies have shown that zinc can eliminate theHSV-1 cells effectively too. Thus, zinc oxide ointments can be used topically on cold sores for reducing their swelling and redness as well. However, do remember to keep applying the ointments on the blisters after every two hours.

Honey

Honey is another excellent natural remedy for cold sores. Researchers have revealed that honey is capable of healing the blisters much more quickly than prescription or over-the-counter medications. Thus, applying raw honey on a cold sore can get your blister problem fixed in a much shorter time period.

4. Ways to Reduce Cold Sore Outbreaks

Adopting the following methods can decrease the recurrence of cold sore flare-ups:

  • Refrain from sun exposure as much as possible. Always apply lip balm on your lips when having to stay out in the sun for a prolonged period of time.
  • Abstain from oral sex or kissing people who are infected with the herpes virus.
  • Refrain from eating such foods or fruits as nuts, chocolate or gelatin that can result in a recurrence of your cold sores.
  • Don’t use any toothbrush, silverware, razor or towel that has been used by an infected person.

5. When to See a Doctor

Cold sores go away on their own, however contact your doctor immediately if:

  • Symptoms worsen overtime.
  • Tenderness in the eyes is experienced.
  • Blisters persist even after two weeks.
  • Continuous recurrence of the cold sores occurs.
  • Immune system is not very strong.
  • Change your toothbrush.
  • Avoid touching your eyes or your genitals after touching your blister.
  • Always wash your hands after applying anything on your cold sore.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm when going out in the sun.
  • Abstain from sharing stuff of people who have cold sore. 
  • Ask children to wash their hands regularly.
  • Stop the children from playing with toys which others have put in their mouths.
  • Use disinfectants on the toys that your child plays with.
  • Don’t let your child out if he has blisters that are oozing fluid.
  • Make use of cotton swabs or disposable gloves when applying anything on your child’s blisters.

How to Prevent Cold Sore

The best cold sore treatment is to prevent it from happening at the first place.

  • Change your toothbrush.
  • Avoid touching your eyes or your genitals after touching your blister.
  • Always wash your hands after applying anything on your cold sore.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm when going out in the sun.
  • Abstain from sharing stuff of people who have cold sore. 
  • Ask children to wash their hands regularly.
  • Stop the children from playing with toys which others have put in their mouths.
  • Use disinfectants on the toys that your child plays with.
  • Don’t let your child out if he has blisters that are oozing fluid.
  • Make use of cotton swabs or disposable gloves when applying anything on your child’s blisters.

Ways to Prevent the Spread of Cold Sore in Children

  • Ask children to wash their hands regularly.
  • Stop the children from playing with toys which others have put in their mouths.
  • Use disinfectants on the toys that your child plays with.
  • Don’t let your child out if he has blisters that are oozing fluid.
  • Make use of cotton swabs or disposable gloves when applying anything on your child’s blisters.

Please watch a video about cold sore treatments and how to prevent cold sores: