What Are The Best Ways To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for cold sores, and it can take between two to four weeks for a cold sore to heal on its own. But, there are things you can do to make them go away faster.
Here are three things that can help soothe a cold sore or make it clear up faster:
1. Try home remedies. When used early, there are several remedies that can help ease the pain and reduce swelling and may even shorten the duration of a cold sore:
- Cold, damp washcloth
- Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen
2. Apply topical creams and ointments. There are a few over-the-counter anesthetic ointments and creams that can help control pain, such as lidocaine or benzocaine. Some products, such as those containing docosanol or benzyl alcohol, may even promote faster healing when used early and in plentiful amounts.
3. Take prescription medications. There are antiviral drugs that can help cold sores heal faster, including acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir and penciclovir. If you’re having frequent outbreaks or experiencing some of the serious side effects of having a cold sore, your doctor may consider prescribing antiviral medication.
“To get rid of a cold sore quickly, the best thing you can do is start treating it as soon as possible,” says Dr. Brown. “A burning or tingling sensation on your lips or face can be an early warning sign that a cold sore is developing, and the earlier you start reducing swelling and treating the cold sore, the faster it will heal.”
What Not To Do With Cold Sores
Certain habits or behaviors could trigger a cold-sore outbreak or make new cold sores appear elsewhere on your body.
Avoid triggers. This means that if you know a hot, sunny day at the beach or a lot of stress makes you break out in cold sores, try to stay out of those situations when you can. You may be able to stop it in its tracks, or at least keep it from getting worse.
Donât touch. If you pick at your cold sore, you may spread the virus to another part of your body. That will just make your outbreak worse. Keep your hands away from your mouth, and wash your hands often, especially when you touch your face.
Donât pop sores. The virus is most likely to spread after a cold sore appears and before it heals. Popping the sores may spread the virus to other parts of your body.
Donât give or receive oral sex. When you have a cold sore, you can spread it to other parts of the body, including the genitals.
How Can I Stop Cold Sores From Forming
So you nipped your last cold sore flare-up in the bud , and it lasted less than a week but here you are, just a few months later, and the cold sores are back. There’s good news, and then there’s bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.
“Once a person is infected with herpes simplex virus, he or she is infected for life,” says Dr. Brown. “After a cold sore heals, the virus isn’t actually cleared from your body. Instead, the virus travels back into your nerves, where it can lie dormant for long periods of time. When the virus reemerges, it typically does so in the same spot as before.”
So what triggers the virus to reactivate and cause a flare-up?
Dr. Brown says that a cold sore outbreak can be triggered by:
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What Are The Cures For Genital Herpes
Although conventional medicine does not provide a cure for genital herpes, the doctor can prescribe one of these three drugs to treat or prevent future episodes.- Aciclovir – Famciclovir – Valaciclovir
During one of the periods of herpes activity, whether it is the first or a recurrence, some simple instructions should be followed in order to speed up healing and avoid the spread of the infection in other areas of the body or the infection of other people .
– Keep the area of infection clean and dry to avoid the development of other infections.- Try to avoid contact with sores.- Wash hands after contact with sores.- Avoid sexual contacts from the first appearance of any symptom to the complete recovery of wages, that is, the fall of the crust and the formation of new skin in the affected area.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Herpes Simplex
What Is The Prognosis For Oral Herpes Can They Be Cured
Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for herpes simplex virus. Avoiding risk factors, such as sunburn and stress, can help prevent additional outbreaks. Cold sores will usually heal within 2 weeks without treatment. However, there are established cold sore treatments available to help decrease healing time, reduce pain, and in specific cases, suppress the recurrence of the virus.
Cold sores, if they recur, are most likely to do so during the first year after infection. They usually resolve on their own within 1-2 weeks. After the initial outbreak, cold sores may never appear again, or appear only when something triggers them. Usually people with cold sores lead normal lives and are not terribly affected by them unless they happen to recur very often .
What Causes Genital Herpes
Eight species of viruses in the herpesvirus family are currently known to infect humans, but only two of them cause genital herpes. The most common cause is herpes simplex virus type 2.
It is also a cause of genital herpes, the herpes simplex virus type 1, well known because it is the main cause of the disease in the parts of the body located above the shoulders such as the face, eyes and mouth.
Sometimes we confuse the causes of genital herpes with the triggers. Stress, prolonged exposure to the sun, and wearing clothes that are too tight on the body are all factors that can cause herpes outbreaks in people infected with the virus, but they are not the real cause.
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What If My Partner Already Has Herpes Simplex
When you and your partner have the same virus you will not reinfect each other even on a different part of the body, you will not catch it back yourself on a different part of your body.
If you have caught a genital infection from a partners genitals, they will not catch the virus back on their face.
If you have caught a genital infection from a partners facial cold sores, they will not catch the virus back on their genitals.
If you have caught it on your face from your partners genitals, then they will not catch it on their face if they do oral sex on you.
If you have caught it on your face from your partners facial cold sores, then they will not catch it on their genitals if you do oral sex on them.
A two-page summary is available.
A Review Of How To Decide Which Oral And Topical Agents To Use Based On The Presentation
Herpes simplex and herpes zoster viruses can have many ocular manifestations, some of which are serious and vision-threatening. Both conditions have the potential to be chronic and recurrent, as well. Here, experts share the protocols they use when dealing with these sometimes challenging cases.
Cornea specialist Francis Mah, in practice in La Jolla, California, notes that the live virus can cause epithelial keratitis and other ocular manifestations. The classic herpes simplex presentation is a dendrite that can form on the surface of the cornea. The treatment for this is epithelial scraping with an instrument such as a Kimura spatula, along with trifluridine dropswhich was a huge advance at the time they were introducedand oral antivirals, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir, the most commonly used treatments among cornea specialists. A newer agent, ganciclovir gel, is also an option. Typically, people will develop a dendrite when theyre run down, when theyve traveled, and when they are stressed or sick, he says. Sunlight can also stimulate it. Dendrites dont cause much pain. The main symptom will be a change in the patients vision.
Patients with ocular herpes can also develop endotheliitis. This causes corneal swelling because endothelial cells become stunned and dont work anymore, Dr. Jeng notes. Its generally treated with both oral acyclovir as well as topical steroids for the inflammation.
Early Infection On Finger
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
The finger is a common place to get a herpes infection. In fact, it’s common enough that it has its own nameherpetic whitlow.
This picture shows the early stage of the infection. Since the skin on the fingers is thicker, the blisters aren’t as fragile and may not spread quickly.
How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally
Not every person with a herpes infection actually experiences breakouts of cold sores throughout his or her lifetime or even after initially becoming infected. How often someone has a herpes cold sore outbreak, how severe the outbreaks are, how contagious someone is after infection and how long the sores take to heal all depend on someones individual immune response.
1. Boost Nutrient Intake
If youre going to keep the herpes virus from frequently causing outbreaks, the first step in how to get rid of herpes is to improve immune function by boosting nutrient intake. Include these healing foods in your diet to keep the virus dormant as much as possible:
2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Certain foods can raise inflammation, weaken immune defenses and make skin irritation even worse. Avoid the following foods as much as possible to limit outbreak severity and duration.
3. Consider Supplements
- Antiviral herbs: These include elderberry, calendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root.
- L-lysine : Can help treat and prevent outbreaks.
- Lemon balm extract: Apply as a topical cream for healing.
- Vitamin C : Vitamin C boosts immune function improving herpes.
- Zinc : Zinc benefits include supporting immune function, keeping viruses dormant and rebuilding skin tissue to speed up healing.
- B-complex : B vitamins help your body deal with stress and can prevent outbreaks.
4. Try Essential Oils
5. Ease Cold Sore Pain Naturally
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What Prescription Drugs Treat Cold Sores
Prescription-strength topical medications: Treatment with topical acyclovir or penciclovir will reduce healing time by approximately half a day and decrease pain associated with the lesion. Topical treatment is limited in its effectiveness because it has poor penetration to the site of replication of the virus and therefore is restricted in its healing ability. Acyclovir cream should be applied five times per day for 4 days, and penciclovir cream should be applied every two hours while awake for 4 days. A cream containing 5% acyclovir and a topical steroid called Xerese is also available.
Treatment for the first outbreak of oral herpes in an otherwise healthy person may include:
- Acyclovir, 400 mg orally three times a day for 10 days or until the lesions have crusted
- Valacyclovir, 2,000 mg orally every 12 hours for 1 day
- Famciclovir, 250 mg orally three times a day for 7-10 days
- Treatment doses for recurrent oral herpes are as follows:
- Acyclovir, 400 mg orally three times a day for 5 days: It may also be given as 800 mg orally twice a day for 5 days or 800 mg three times a day for 2 days.
- Valacyclovir, 2,000 mg orally every 12 hours for 1 day
- Famciclovir, 1,500 mg orally once
- Suppressive treatment for those with frequent outbreaks may be given for 12 months, but it may be extended if needed:
- Acyclovir, 400 mg orally twice a day
- Valacyclovir, 500 mg orally once a day
- Famciclovir, 250 mg orally twice a day
Typical Lesions On Finger
James Heilman, MD , CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
This picture shows a herpetic whitlow, or herpes infection of the finger, that has blisters and sores. Herpetic whitlow will go away on its own, although often Zovirax is given for treatment.
Oral antivirals are generally not needed unless the infection is severe or a person has a weak immune system.
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What Is The Usual Treatment For Genital Herpes
The doctor may prescribe antiviral tablets to speed up healing and reduce the severity of a first episode. Aciclovir is the most commonly used antiviral drug for treating genital herpes. You dont need the tablets if the first episode is mild, or if you have almost recovered before you see the doctor.If you get more episodes later on, you will be less likely to be offered with antiviral tablets as outbreaks clear up without treatment.To prevent a recurrent outbreak with antiviral tablets, you need to start taking them within 24 hours of noticing the beginning of the outbreak. When you start after 24 hours, it is unlikely that the tablets will have much effect. This is why you should have a prescription or tablets ready, so that you can start to take them as soon as possible see dosing information below. Members can ask for our antiviral drug fact sheet see subscription form. And we offer self-help suggestions too.
My Partner Doesnt Have Genital Herpes So How Can I Have Caught It
Your partner could be one of the two out of three people with herpes simplex who have it so mildly they do not realise. So they could have sex when the virus is active. Mild symptoms can appear as a pimple, a little cut or an itchy bit of skin and yet these are very infectious. When people with these mild symptoms learn to recognise them, then they can avoid sex at these times. Another possibility is that your partner does not have herpes simplex and you caught it from a previous partner. It is possible to have a first outbreak many years after first catchin it.
Why And How Cold Sores Develop
Before we get into the best ways to get rid of a cold sore quickly, lets look at how cold sores can develop in the first place.
Cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus , which is better known simply as oral herpes. Oral herpes is extremely common, with the World Health Organization reporting that about two thirds of the global population under age 50 is infected.
Oral herpes spreads primarily through direct contact, for example through kissing or havingoral sex, which is one reason its common for cold sores to carry a bit of a stigma, from a dating perspective. It can also be spread through sharing, lip balm, lipstick, cups, and utensils.
While HSV-1 is extremely common and highly contagious, many people never experience any cold sores. On average, about 20% to 40% of people that have HSV-1 will get cold sores, sometimes once or twice a year, although they can be more or less frequent.
When we talk about cold sores, what were really talking about is a cold sore breakout. This is when the HSV-1 virus becomes active after staying dormant in the body, causing sores to develop.
Cold sores usually develop on your lips, but they can also form on your gums and on the roof of your mouth.
Normally, cold sore breakouts are triggered by a specific event or condition, such as stress or illness. Some of the most common triggers for cold sore breakouts are:
Foods To Avoid During Herpes
Here are some foods that you might not eat if you have herpes:
Arginine and Acidity
Arginine is an amino acid that is plentiful in specific foods and can increase the potential that you will experience a herpes blister, either genital or oral. L-lysine is another amino acid that has anti-viral properties and can help reduce the effect of arginine and your potential for an outbreak. However, lysine has acidic properties, and when taken with acid-rich foods like dairy products or sweets, it can lead to hyperacidity in the body. This imbalance can also trigger an outbreak.
Foods that are sweet or have sugar are high in the amino acid arginine. This includes chocolate and raisins. Other foods that are high in sugar include soft drinks and foods made with high fructose corn syrup, such as popsicles, fruit juices, some breakfast cereals, candy bars, cough syrups, drink mixes, ketchup and jams and jellies. Each of these products contains sugars and syrups that will increase your risk of developing new herpes lesions.
Nuts are high in arginine and low in lysine, increasing your potential for an outbreak so avoid peanuts and peanut butter because of the high amount of arginine in the products. Other nuts are also high in arginine, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, pecans and walnuts.
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