Cold sores are generally called “fever blisters” - small lesions that are filled with liquid or fluid that usually forms at or around the lips or oral cavity. The blisters usually appear in the form of clusters and a scab/ crust may form when these are abraded or damaged. Typically, it takes a couple of weeks for complete resolution of sore and regeneration of normal skin around the active lesions. The cold spread from person to person via oral interactions or transmission of oral secretions via physical contact.
How to get rid of cold sores? Proper care and medications are helpful in inducing early remission. A number of OTC and other home remedies are helpful in improving the outcome and in severe refractory cases prescription medical treatment can be used.
Home Remedies for Cold Sores
1. Use Docosanol
It is an over the counter local application agent that is widely used to treat cold sores. It is recommended by doctors for early and speedy management of cold sores. Local application at the site of lesion after every 4 hours each day can help in pain resolution. The application on the infected site can lessen the itching and inflammation.
2. Apply Cold Compress
You can also apply some ice or clean cloth immersed in cold water on the infected parts of skin. It helps in speedy relief from the pain and inflammation.
3. Use Ointment
Cold sores should be covered with some ointment that contains petroleum jelly to prevent it from getting infected by environmental dirt/ grease and bacteria.
4. Take OTC Painkillers
The OCT painkillers are always useful in case of severe painful sores. Most commonly employed pharmacological anti- inflammatory agents are aspirin and acetaminophen.
5. Avoid Acidic and Salty Foods
During active cold sores, individuals are advised to avoid salty and acidic foods like chips or citrus containing fruits to prevent acute exacerbation of pain and discomfort.
6. Use OTC Anesthetics
Over-the-counter anesthetics that contain benzocaine (a local anesthetic agent) can be most helpful to reduce the pain if applied carefully on infected patches of skin.
7. Avoid Spreading Infection to Others
Acute lesions of cold sores are extremely infectious and contagious and can spread rapidly via physical contact. The patient must not share towels and cups and must avoid kissing or any type of oral contact with partner. Do not touch your eyes or genitals after touching the cold sores. Other areas of the body can get infected in no time. Sometimes cold sores can cause some problems on other body. Fingertips and eyes can easily get affected. If the patient has sensitive skin, he or she can easily catch the germs on the widespread areas of the skin.
8. Use Lysine-containing Products
Cold cores can be treated by the use of natural products that are rich in anti-oxidants and foods with antibacterial properties. Products that contain lysine are overly helpful in achieving quick remission. Foods like fish, eggs, red meat, mushrooms, red grapes and peppermint oil are effective during active cold sore lesions.
9. Videos for More Cold Sore Remedies
Cold sore remedies - proven remedy for cold sores:
Medical Treatments for Cold Sores
Patients must seek medical treatments for cold sores and use both prescription topical and oral medicines to achieve early resolution. People with weak immune system can easily catch cold sores and virus can also affect multiple organs and systems like brain, lungs, and liver.
1. Prescription Topical Medications
To prevent itching, burning and pain on active cold sores, you can apply ointment that contains benzocaine, Lidocaine, Tetracaine, and Dibucaine. Lipactin gel and Zilactin. These are commonly available anesthetics that are effective for immediate pain relief. Apply skin protectors, sun-screen lotions and creams, and sunscreen lip balms for quick relief from cold sores and resulting pain and itching that aggravates upon exposure to sun.
2. Prescription Oral Medications
Oral medicines that are helpful in the cure of cold sores are Zovirax, Valtrex, and Famvir. These pills might have some side effects like headache and nausea (reported in some users only). For quick and easy management of cold sores in adults, 2grams of Valacyclovir can be taken once every 12 hours for two day. Other option is Famciclovir 1500 milligrams a single dose for one day. In case of pregnancy, such medicines should be taken only after the prescription of healthcare provider.
When to See a Doctor
Cold sores can be treated without any particular treatment if hygienic conditions are optimal. Nonetheless you can consult a doctor in following situations:
- If your immune system is weak
- If your cold sore has not resolved in over two weeks or is getting worse.
- If you have severe symptoms like fever, swollen glands, and bleeding gums.
- If your cold sores reoccur quite often due to virus and bacterial infections.
- If you feel any kind of irritation in your eyes.