Have you ever suffered from cold sores? The painful blisters in or near the mouth are small but can cause pain that is tough to deal with. It might be surprising that a virus causes this condition.
About 90% of people get at least one cold sore during their lives. So, if you get this kind of blister you shouldn’t panic. It might be scary that they’re caused by viruses but keep in mind so are other common health conditions like colds and the flu.
What Is a Cold Sore?
It’s possible to get these things if you have a cold but it’s important to note they’re not directly related to colds or flu. These sores are caused by an infection that’s related to a virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV). Don’t worry—it’s not serious. In fact, they’re also known as “fever blisters.”
Cold sores are small blisters that are filled with fluid. They show up on or around the lips. The blisters usually appear in groups but you shouldn’t worry about that either. Here’s what happens. After blisters break a sore appears and a crust appears over them.
Cold sores heal relatively fast. The longest you might have to deal with them is about a month Treatments can help to speed up the healing process. Another plus is cold sores don’t cause a scar so it won’t even be an issue if you get them again and again—and again.
How do people get cold sores? This happens through kissing and other situations where there is close contact. It’s worth noting that this is HSV-1 while the virus that causes genital herpes is HSV-2. The good news is if you get cold sores it won’t cause genital herpes since they’re caused by related but different viruses.
Since there’s no cure for HSV-1 sores they can come back. You could use anti-viral meds to get rid of the sores faster and help to keep at bay. However, you don’t really have to spend money on these meds since you can actually use various DIY treatments that include everyday natural ingredients.
There are various symptoms of cold sores including tingling, itching, oozing/crusting, and blisters. Make sure to watch for these signs that you’ve been infected with the virus that causes cold sores.
These symptoms could be caused by something else. However, if you have 2+ symptoms then there’s a greater chance you actually have cold sores.
Cold Sore Remedies
Cold sores can heal within 1-2 weeks but when you’re in pain you’d probably like to speed up the process with cold sore remedies. Maybe you don’t want to run out to the drugstore to get some meds because of the cost or time. It’s also possible you don’t want to use prescription meds with strong chemicals. Whatever the reason is you can use some DIY treatments.
1. Mint, Peppermint, Witch Hazel Oil
Here’s a treatment that can be effective. The herbs mint and peppermint have properties that be effective for natural treatments.
How about witch hazel? It’s a plant that grows naturally in North America and Asia. Witch Hazel is used for many health problems like poison ivy and insect bites. When you make this DIY treatment for cold sores make sure you use the oil form of Witch Hazel.
2. Lemon Tea
Do you want an excuse to drink more tea or coffee? Lemons are very healthy due to various nutrients like Vitamin C and antioxidants. This tea is good for your general health, to begin with. You should drink some even if you don’t have cold sores.
Besides drinking the lemon tea, itself you can also use it for a lemon tea compress. This has a similar effect to drinking tea. In fact, it could even be more effective because you’re treating the blister directly with the towel/tea. Make sure to apply the compress from time to time to get the best results.
3. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera is used in a wide range of products today including shampoo, conditioner, and skin creams. It’s believed it can also help to treat cold sores effectively. That’s because it can help reduce inflammation caused by the blister.
Another benefit of aloe vera gel is it can add moisture to the cold sore.
4. Lip Balms
Lip balms are relatively common and are good treatments for conditions like chapped lips. You can also use this home treatment for sold cores. Make sure it has at least 1% lemon since Vitamin C in the balm can help to speed up the healing process when treating cold sores.
Treating Early-Stage Cold Sores
You can treat cold sores without leaving your home by using some basic DIY treatments. However, if you want the treatments to be most effective it’s important to treat the sores as quickly as possible. If you deal with them in the early stages you can make them go away faster. Here are some good options:
You might have heard of this amino acid. It’s a good option if you want to deal with HSV in its early stages. In fact, a 1987 study showed that this substance can help to make your cold sore outbreaks less serious and frequent. Those are good things!
You can take lysine in different ways including tablets. It’s important to keep in mind that studies about lysine treatments for cold sores are mixed. You should definitely check with your doctor first about whether or not you should use this treatment.
2. Cool Compress
This is a little less specific than the lemon tea compress. That’s because the main goal is to sooth the new blister. It can also provide other benefits like reducing the redness and getting rid of the nasty crusts on the blisters.
Are you getting enough zinc in your diet? Some studies show that this mineral can help to treat the early stages of HSV. It seems to help with various symptoms like itching, soreness, blistering, and tingling. These are all plusses if you’re dealing with the painful sores.
Cold sores can heal on their own relatively quickly. However, even if the sores return you can deal with them easily. Home remedies are a good option because you likely have the ingredients in your home or can get them easily. This can save you time, effort, and money.
You can also take steps to help prevent spreading the cold sores. That includes avoiding skin-to-skin contact like kissing. You should change your toothbrush until the sores are gone. Don’t share things like towels and utensils. Finally, don’t pick at the blister! All of these steps can make the situation better along with cold sore remedies.