Cold sores look like blisters — fluid-filled sacs beneath the skin’s surface on the lips or near the mouth. They can ooze, crust over, and break open, lasting for about seven to ten days. Those days can be harsh, but you can get comfort in natural treatments and home remedies—almost 90 percent of adults around the globe test positive for the virus that causes cold sores. Many people will likely never show any symptoms, but some deal with recurring breakouts.
Cold sores are usually symptoms of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), though HSV-2 can cause cold sores. If a person first contracts this virus, they can experience a breakout within a few days. This first breakout can be the worst, accompanied by pains and aches, a fever, a headache, and a sore throat. The virus doesn’t leave the body after the initial breakout. Instead, it simply stays dormant in the nerve cells.
Flare-ups can occur anytime due to triggers such as illness, stress, sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, fevers, or surgery. But as they are unavoidable, there are some things you can do to shorten the duration of a cold sore outbreak. Try the home remedies, but be aware that they may not help everyone. For instance, prescription antiviral medications prevent cold sore outbreaks and are much more effective for treating.
Lemon balm contains antiviral properties known as Melissa officinalis. These antiviral properties can help reduce swelling and redness on a blister, and it also helps protect against future infections. The most effective products will have close to one percent lemon balm.
Over-The-Counter Antiviral Medications
Products containing benzyl or docosanol alcohol will help reduce the duration of your cold sore. In addition, lysine is open as a cream and an oral supplement that, according to older research, may help reduce the duration of outbreaks.
Ice can’t reduce the span of a breakout, as it will ease the inflammation and discomfort of cold sores. So instead, apply a cold pack right to the sores for short relief.
Sunscreen can not only protect the lips as the cold sore is improving, but it can reduce expected outbreaks when applied daily on the lips. So look for almost SPF 30, and use it whenever you are in the sun.
Stress can cause the herpes virus to come out of dormancy; decreasing the amount of stress in life is a way to prevent cold sores. Regular exercise, meditation, and avoiding the causes of stress in life can help.
Acetaminophen Or Ibuprofen
Both of the medications will help ease the discomfort associated with a cold sore.
Cold sores will usually go away after a few days, but several prescription treatments can help speed up the healing time.
If you experience some outbreaks in a year, you may also take any oral antiviral medication all year to stop outbreaks altogether. The treatments include:
- penciclovir (Denavir)
- acyclovir (Zovirax)
- famciclovir (Famvir)
- valacyclovir (Valtrex)
What To Avoid
As cold sores are contagious, a person with the virus must reduce the risk of passing that on to others.
Here Are A Few Examples Of What To Avoid:
- Picking or touching the cold sore, though a cold sore blister can be very uncomfortable, it is essential not to pick at it or feel it. This is because the virus can be easily transferred from one person to another through contact with bare hands. Additionally, picking will not speed up healing.
- People must avoid kissing if they have cold sores around their mouths. The virus is very contagious if the blisters are actively sore.
- The cause of genital herpes, HSV-1, spreads through touch between the genitals and the mouth. Therefore, if a person shows early symptoms of a cold sore, they must avoid oral sex or use a barrier method like a condom.
- Skip sharing items like cutlery, toothbrushes, lipstick, or any additional object that can come into contact with the cold sore. This means no sharing drinks or food with anyone.
When To See A Doctor
Cold sores usually heal within one or two weeks. However, if someone has a cold sore that is not healing even after two weeks, they should see a doctor.
A Person Should See A Doctor If A Cold Sore Is:
- Unable To Heal
- Close To The Eyes
- Large Or Very Painful
In these types of cases, a person might require antiviral medication. In addition, people having weak immune systems might also need medical treatment for HSV-1. And, if a person has a high fever or getting chills, they must call their medical professional.
Conclusion You should not get embarrassed if a cold sore pops up on the lip. Many people have cold sores, so you’re not alone. Also, if you’re healthy, it’ll heal up and go away very soon on its own. As you wait, try to take care of it in the best way. You have various treatment options available in stores and online. You may also use a wet or a cold compress to reduce its redness or take any OTC pain medication if the sore is severe and you feel pain. If you take the proper steps and precautions, you will not worry about cold sores!