There is no known permanent cure for cold sores. Once you have the virus with you its going to last forever. However, there are ways through which you can shield yourself when you have warning signs of its imminent outbreak. Tingling and burning sensation around your lips are some of the common signs of its arrival.
Why do you have cold sores?
Cold sores are a viral infection which is caused by a virus called Herpes simplex type 1 virus. It can get very painful and these sores usually appear on or around your lips, inside your mouth and throat region. Like mentioned before, once you have a sore that is caused by this virus, there will be an imminent outbreak of this condition in future as well. Tingling sensation or irritation around your lips is a sure sign of its arrival in a couple of days time. Cold sores often last for around seven to ten days time frame, during this period the sores can swell in size, burst out and release fluids. An initial outbreak can bring forth painful sores in your mouth, tongue, inside of cheeks and lips areas. Some of the well known triggering factors include menstruation, stress, weakness, tiredness, and exposure to excessive sunlight.
Instant pain relieving methods
You can apply some ice directly over the sores for few minutes to reduce the pain and swelling in the region. When you use ice over the areas that give out warning signs such as tingling and burning sensation before the actual outbreak, it will ensure you have a smaller sore which is easy to handle and treat.
Some studies suggest that taking aspirin during cold sores will reduce overall timeframe of the viral infection by nearly 50 percent and ensures faster healing. So take 125 milligrams of aspirin every day till the condition is under control.
Fight against the virus
- Lysine: One of the most recommended drugs for cold sores by Doctors is lysine because it is really effective in fighting against the herpes virus and it inhibits its replication. Take 3000 milligrams of lysine three times a day till the sores disappear.
- Lemon balm: In a study conducted in Germany participants who had frequent outbreaks of cold sores were made to use lemon balm ointment. This study found out the lemon balm has the capacity to fight against herpes simplex virus and the participants who used it regularly found their cold sores outbreak reduced to a great degree and some participants even stopped having it altogether. Apply some lemon balm ointment to the sores regularly. In particular, use it before going to sleep.
- Myrrh oil: This oil is easily available in most drug stores. Myrrh oil is found to be more effective against herpes virus and bring down pain and irritation caused by it. Swab some oil directly to the sores multiple times a day.
- Tea Tree oil: Tea tree oil is known for its antiseptic properties and it has been scientifically proven that it is very effective against skin infections like cold sores. Add one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one teaspoon of olive oil and apply it to the sores directly. Repeat this two to three times a day till the sores disappear completely.
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains a do good bacteria known as acidophilus bacteria. There are some studies that revealed acidophilus bacterias inhibits the growth of certain viruses which includes herpes virus. Include half or one cup of yogurt every day.
- Abreva Cream: This is an over the counter medicine that contains a chemical compound called docosanol. This compound’s main job is to shield the healthy cells from the infected ones and ensures the bacterias or viruses doesn’t spread the virus to healthy cells. Apply this cream two to three times a day to ensure faster healing from cold sores.
When to seek Doctor’s advice?
Seek a Doctor’s help if you are getting cold sores for the first time, if your condition doesn’t disappear within two to three weeks time and if you have multiple outbreaks of this condition like more than five times a year. Additionally, you might need a medical help immediately if your sores are accompanied by fever, flu, or swollen glands. Sometimes sores can be very painful that it inhibits your daily activities such as talking, brushing your teeth, eating food etc… If that’s the case then do not hesitate to seek the help of a professional Doctor.
Do you know?
Do you know that herpes virus can even affect your eyesight? Yes through some means this virus can get in your eyes and when it happens it can become a serious threat to your eyesight. If you have cold sores accompanied by irritation and pain in the eyes then bring to a Doctor’s attention immediately without any delay.
Boost your defense
- Echinacea: This a traditional herb well known to boost immunity. Additionally, it has antiviral properties so it is helpful in keeping the dormant viruses under control. Take 300 milligrams of Echinacea capsules which are available in most drugstores three to four times a day.
- Quercetin: This is a plant pigment which is also a flavonoid. It is quercetin which gives certain vegetables its distinct colors. There is a conclusive research published in the Journal of Medical Virology that reveals quercetin is really effective in speeding up the healing process of cold sores. Doctors recommend taking 1000 milligrams of quercetin each day divided into three or four doses.
Avoid cracking up sores
Crusted over or dried up sores can crack easily. When it happens it can lead to bleeding and can be quite painful as well. To avoid cracking of crusted sores apply some petroleum jelly over it multiple times a day. Do not use your hands for applying this gel, use a cotton swab instead.
Do you know that most of us have cold-sore viruses inside our body but its remaining dormant? Some research reveals that 90 percent of the population worldwide who are over 40 years of age do have Herpes simplex 1 virus inside their body. This virus is directly responsible for cold sores.
How to Prevent it?
- If you have frequent outbreaks of cold sores, then you must include foods that contain lysine into your daily diet. Some natural sources of lysine include red meat, pork, salmon, cod, sardines, eggs, soybeans, spirulina and fenugreek seeds.
- Arginine is one of the essential amino acids to our body. However, herpes virus needs arginine to thrive. Though you cannot completely ignore this amino acid, however, you can reduce its intake. Some of the common sources are chocolate, carbonated drinks, caffeine-rich beverages, beer, peas, cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, gelatine, and whole grain cereals. Avoid the above-mentioned food as much as possible, if not take it in moderation.
- Zinc deficiency can potentially trigger cold sores. Our body needs zinc for the proper functioning of our immune system to fight against viruses. You can source zinc through foods or take it as a supplement. Doctors recommend taking 15 milligrams of zinc every day in the form of supplements.
- If you have frequent outbreaks of cold sores, you probably would have noticed a triggering factor. Sometimes eating certain foods can increase the chances of an outbreak or increase in stress can lead the way. So, whatever is the triggering factor try to avoid it as much as possible.
- Constant exposure to sunlight and dehydration can lead to cold sores as well. So always wear a lip balm before going out. It is highly recommended to use a lip balm with sunscreen (SPF 15 minimum). Ensure you are properly hydrated, do not let your lips and surrounding areas to become dry.
- If your partner has cold sores outbreak then avoid kissing them in the mouth. Doing so you will potentially infect yourself with the virus. Also, if any of your family members has cold sores then make the person use a separate set of towels, drinking glasses, eating plates, washcloths etc…
- Avoid touching your eyes directly when you have cold sores. Herpes virus can infect your eyes and put your eyesight in danger.
Take care of your dental health
Herpes viruses are usually transmitted through your saliva. So when you have cold sores outbreak you need to take some extra care to your dental health in order to avoid future outbreaks.
- Expose your toothbrush to sunlight and air outside. When you keep your toothbrush inside your bathroom, where the atmosphere usually stays in the moist condition it becomes a paradise for breeding viruses.
- Make use of a separate toothbrush after the outbreak and throw it away once the condition disappears.
- Purchase a small tube of toothpaste to use for the duration while the cold sores last and trash it afterward.
Can Vinegar help?
Some people make use of vinegar to treat cold sores and it works. Yes, vinegar is acidic in nature and viruses cannot thrive in an acidic environment. Swab a little vinegar (any kind) over the affected areas multiple times a day to speed up the healing process. Make sure you are using a different cotton swab every single time. Avoid direct contact with the affected area with your bare hands.