Cold sores are blister-like tiny lesions that appear near or on the lips, cheeks, chin and inside the nostrils. In rare cases, they can also affect areas of the mouth like the roof and gums. Herpes simplex virus triggers this condition and quickly spreads via physical contact. According to the WHO report, two-thirds of population aged more than 50 years have HSV-1. Also, about 90% of the adults worldwide test positive for HSV-1, but only 30% show the signs of the infection. So some people never show any symptoms throughout life, but some may have to deal with them again with the recurring breakouts. This is because everyone’s immunity system is different.
When the virus enters the body for the first time, the breakout can be quite severe. It can be accompanied by a sore throat, headache and even fever. Cold sores last for seven to ten days. But it doesn’t mean that the virus will leave your body. It remains inside the cells in a dormant state. It can be triggered again by many factors like stress, allergies, menstruation, fever, sunburns, diet, unwarranted consumption of medications, etc. People with the regular outbreak or those with the weak immune system are recommended to seek medical advice for cold sore treatment. It can be managed with the right medications, home remedies, and precautionary measures.
Cold sore appears as blisters which mainly occur the area surrounding the lips or mouth, but they can affect any other part of the body. But as the name suggests, cold is not the reason at all for this infection. As mentioned earlier it is caused when the herpes simplex virus in your body gets activated. As cold sore is a viral infection, so it can be easily transmitted from an infected person. A study reveals, HSV-1 virus is present in maximum people but is in a dormant state. The virus doesn’t have their own life base and can be active or alive inside organisms and affect the immune system, so it is not possible to eliminate them. Although, their impact and severity can be reduced with the help of medications and boosting the immune system.
Home-based remedies for treating cold sore
There are a number of home remedies that can help you with symptoms caused by a cold sore. You can try these home remedies for treating a cold sore.
- Ice can help you alleviate the symptoms of a cold sore by minimizing the inflammation.
- Lemon can help reduce the swelling and redness. If you notice that the lemon juice stings your blisters, then mix it with some organic honey.
- Apply some milk on blisters, as it contains immunoglobulin, antibodies that prevent HSV.
- Aloe vera can reduce the duration of cold sores and also offer relief from pain.
- OTC medications can alleviate bothersome symptoms like pain and inflammation.
- Vitamin C can help strengthen the immune system. Therefore, increase the intake of foods like lemon, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, guava, and papaya.
- Lysine ointments or creams proves quick relief from cold sores. Applying zinc oxide ointment can reduce the virus growth. Docosanol (under medical supervision only) can also be used to treat cold sores but not in case of canker sores or genital herpes.
If the home remedies mentioned above don’t work out for you, it is advised that you consult a doctor immediately for cold sore treatment. They can reccommend you with some prescription drugs.
Prevention of cold sores
Cold sore is a viral infection caused by the HSV-1 or HSV-2 extremely contagious viruses. There is no cure for this viral infection but the severity and the outbreak intensity can be reduced by taking some preventive measures. To protect yourself and others from this infection you must follow these precautions:
- Maintain good hygiene.
- Avoiding direct contact with the infected person.
- Washing hands with a high-quality disinfecting hand wash.
- Ditch the habit of fidgeting with you blisters by touching them.
- Change your toothbrush after your cold sore is healed as toothbrushes might carry the virus and can again result in the same infection.
- Avoiding spicy food as it can activate the virus.
- Avoid direct sun exposure. If you have to go out in the sun, make sure that you use sunscreen.
- Nourishing lotions and cream. Ensure that you use dermatologically tested products.
- Avoid sharing personal products and utensils. If you do, ensure that you sanitize them thoroughly.
- Learn to manage your stress, as it is one of the most common triggers of HSV.
- Exercise daily and have plenty of sleep to boost your immune system.