How To Treat Cold Sores
There are many that you can do at home to soothe the sting of a cold sore, such as:
Ice. You can numb the pain if you apply a cold compress to the sore. Donât put ice directly on your skin — that could damage it.
Pain relievers. When a cold sore really stings, you may get some relief from an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen.
Over-the-counter creams. There are products available at the drugstore that can help reduce the pain of a cold sore or help keep the skin soft while it heals.
Prescription drugs. Because cold sores are caused by a virus, doctors may suggest an antiviral medication to help you heal more quickly. The antiviral drugs used to treat cold sores include acyclovir , valacyclovir , famciclovir , and penciclovir .
Aloe vera gel. The same gel used for sunburn may help a cold sore to heal. Lab research has shown the gel may help fight viruses, including herpes simplex.
Lysine. This supplement may be used sometimes to treat cold sores. It comes in a cream or in capsule form.
Propolis. This is a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees. It may be used like an ointment to treat cold sores.
Lemon balm. Some research has shown that lemon balm extract can help cold sores get better, too.
Tea tree oil. Some research has shown that this strong-smelling oil helps a cold sore heal more quickly.
What Are The Symptoms
The first symptoms of cold sores may include a spot that tingles, burns, or itches around your mouth and on your lips. You may also have a fever, a sore throat, or swollen glands in your neck or other parts of the body. Small children sometimes drool before cold sores appear. After the blisters appear, the cold sores usually break open, leak a clear fluid, and then crust over and disappear after several days to 2 weeks. For some people, cold sores can be very painful.
Some people have the virus but don’t get cold sores. They have no symptoms.
Do Not Try To Pop A Cold Sore
As discussed, cold sores are not canker sores. Something else theyre not? Pimples. While popping a pimple can be a quick, effective, and profoundly satisfying way to reduce the unsightliness of a pimple, trying to squeeze a cold sore is likely to blow up in your faceand other places besides. See, pimples form when sebum clogs a pore in your skin. Cold sores, on the other hand, are the result of an infectious virus . Get that infectious viral fluid on your fingers, and youre risking spreading cold sores to other parts of your body or the body of someone else. So relax, dont do it.
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Do’s And Don’ts For Faster Cold Sore Healing
Speeding up the cold sore healing process through medication like valacyclovir is only one side of the equation. The other, which is equally important, is making sure you dont slow accidentally down the healing process by making common cold sore mistakes:
Dont try to pop a cold sore as if it were a pimple. This just damages your skin and gives the virus fluid a chance to spread throughout your lips and mouth, increasing the risk of other cold sores developing.
The best approach is to leave your cold sore alone and let it heal, or use a cold sore patch from your local pharmacy to cover it up without breaking it open.
Dont touch a cold sore . The fluid from cold sores may spread to other parts of your body, making it possible to spread cold sores to your genitals or fingers through contact.
Dont have oral sex if you have a cold sore. Having oral sex with an open cold sore significantly increases your risk of transmitting genital herpes to your partner, making it best to avoid oral sex until the cold sore is healed.
Dont aggressively wash the cold sore with soap or facial wash. Oral herpes isnt caused by dirty skin or lips, meaning most soaps wont be effective.
Dont use more than the recommended dose of valacyclovir. A higher dose doesnt necessarily mean faster healing. Follow the dosage provided by your doctor for reliable, safe cold sore recovery.
How To Get Rid Of Cold Sores
- Medical Author: Mohamad El Mortada, MD
- Medical Author: MaryAnn Tran, MD
- Medical Author: Corrine Young, PharmD
Cold sores are small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores that appear on the lips, mouth, or nose that are caused by a virus. The sores can be painful and usually last a few days. Unlike most viral infections, the cold sore virus is not completely eliminated by the body defenses. For this reason, cold sores often recur.
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Cold Sore Home Remedies And Treatments
Abreva is an over-the-counter ointment for cold sores that may shorten healing time. At the first sign of cold sore symptoms such as tingling apply it to the affected area as the package directions indicate.To relieve cold sore pain and discomfort, you can also try these strategies:
- Apply lip balm or moisturizer. Use a lip balm, or moisturizer with sunscreen , on your lips. Keeping wounds moist no matter where they are on the body is one of the best ways to speed healing. Thats especially important with cold sores making sure your lips arent too dry will prevent you from reinjuring the area when you smile, eat or drink.
- Try pain-relieving creams. Over-the-counter creams or ointments that contain lidocaine or benzocaine may relieve the pain of cold sores. A popular brand is Orajel, although generic equivalents are available.
- Use a cold compress. Applying a cool, damp cloth to the affected area can soothe irritation and help remove crusting.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease discomfort.
What Happens If You Dont Get Herpes Treatment
The good news about herpes is that its not deadly or even very dangerous. It might be annoying, but herpes doesnt get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
If you dont get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.
There are a few reasons people may decide not to get treatment. They might not have that many outbreaks, or their outbreaks dont really bother them. Or maybe theyre not having sex, so theyre not that worried about having herpes right now. Whatever your situation is, getting treatment for herpes is your choice.
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How Can I Get Rid Of Cold Sores Quickly
They’re painful. They’re unsightly. They’re annoying. Cold sores are just plain unwelcome. When one pops up on your lip or mouth, you probably immediately think: What’s the fastest way to get rid of this thing?
“Herpes simplex virus the virus that causes cold sores is incredibly contagious, and infection with the virus is really common,” says Dr. Donald Brown, primary care practitioner at Houston Methodist. “In fact, more than 50% of adults in the U.S. are infected with the type of herpes virus that most commonly causes cold sores. Interestingly, however, most people who contract the virus never actually develop symptoms.”
If the virus does cause cold sores, it can spread from person-to-person through close contact, like kissing. But, while you may not know it, the virus can also spread by sharing:
- Utensils and drinking glasses
“The virus is most contagious when a cold sore is present, particularly when the blister begins to ooze,” Dr. Brown adds. “However, it’s important to know that you can still spread the virus long after a cold sore heals as well as when a blister isn’t even present.”
For those who are no stranger to those painful, fluid-filled blisters, when you get a cold sore, you probably want it gone fast.
What Are Cold Sores
Cold sores , sometimes called fever blisters, are groups of small blisters on the lip and around the mouth. Often the first sign of a cold sore is a spot that tingles, burns, itches, or causes discomfort. A blister usually forms within 6 to 48 hours. The skin around the blisters is often red, swollen, and sore. The blisters may break open, leak a clear fluid, and then scab over after a few days. They usually heal in several days to 2 weeks.
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What Is A Cold Sore
Cold sores are small blisters that are reddish and a little painful. They’re usually on the outer edge of the lip or inside the mouth.
Cold sores can appear one at a time or in little bunches. They’re filled with fluid, but crust over and form a scab before they go away. They last a week or two and usually don’t need any special treatment.
Act Quickly And Apply Abreva
- An effective way to treat cold sores and help them heal faster is by applying Abreva Cream as soon as you feel that familiar tingle and/or see redness on or around your lip.
- Abreva starts to work immediately by soothing on contact and shortens the duration of pain, itching, burning, and tingling of cold sores.
- Abreva is clinically proven to shorten the healing time of a cold sore.
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How Are Cold Sores Treated
Cold sores will usually start to heal on their own within a few days. But if they cause pain or make you feel embarrassed, they can be treated. Treatment may include skin creams, ointments, or sometimes pills. Starting treatment right away may get rid of the cold sores only 1 to 2 days faster, but it can also help ease painful blisters or other uncomfortable symptoms.
The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores can’t be cured. After you get infected, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. If you get cold sores often, treatment can reduce the number of cold sores you get and how severe they are.
How Do You Get Cold Sores
Cold sores is a virus, therefore you need to “catch” it. To do this, you must come in contact with an affected person. You may also contract the virus by being exposed to wet towels, utensils recently used by an infected person, etc.
Cold sores are known as the “kissing disease,” and have been documented as far back as Ancient Greek/Roman times. Suffice to say, there are many ways one can end up with a cold sore.
Some people may be infected with the virus and never have had symptoms, yet they are able to pass the virus along to others. Sneaky stuff, that Herpes simplex virus.
There are other strains of the herpes virus, and these may manifest in other areas of the body. This salve recipe Ill be sharing works for these as well.
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Cold Sores: Common And Contagious
Cold sores are common and mostly harmless. Theyre caused by the herpes simplex virus, which spreads easily from person to person.
In some lucky people, the virus might cause a cold sore onceor twice and never rear its head again. But for other people, they come backagain and again, sometimes several times a year. And that gets old real fast.
They tend to go away on their own in 10 to 14 days, says Dr.Beers. But that doesnt make them any less annoying.
The Early Warning Signs Of Genital Herpes
Once you learn to identify the early warning signs of a genital herpes outbreak, you can take action to avoid the worst outbreak symptoms.
The most common sign of genital herpes is the development of blisters around the genital area. Herpes simplex blisters are often itchy and painful.
Other symptoms may accompany the blisters to indicate early warning signs of genital herpes:
- -Difficult or painful urination
- -Wash your hands immediately after any possible contact with sores to prevent the spread of infection
- -Take medication as directed by your healthcare professional
- -Use natural treatments known to reduce discomfort and accelerate healing
- -Use foods and supplements known to strengthen your immune system
- -Use the Luminance RED on current outbreaks and in-between
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When Is It Time To See A Doctor For Genital Herpes
Its important to see a doctor if you suspect you have genital herpes. Your doctor may collect a sample and test it for the herpes simplex virus and other STIs. Once your herpes diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor can help you select a medication or treatment best suited to minimize the impacts of genital herpes on your health and quality of life.
You may also want to see a doctor if your recurring genital herpes outbreaks are causing you intense pain and discomfort. Though herpes isnt a dangerous condition that causes serious health problems, ongoing outbreaks may become a nuisance or cause embarrassment and pain.
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:
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How Long Will It Take To Heal On Its Own
The time it takes for a cold sore to heal varies from person to person. Generally, cold sores heal within a few days to two weeks without any treatment. If your cold sore lasts longer than 15 days or you have a compromised immune system from cancer treatment or from a medical condition, such as HIV, speak to your doctor.
How To Treat Herpes Scars
If you do end up with scarring from herpes sores, you may be able to reduce their appearance with home treatments. Keep in mind that many scars fade gradually on their own, even without treatment.
Be aware that evidence for the effectiveness of these treatments is mostly anecdotal. Theres little clinical evidence to support these claims.
Home treatments for herpes scars include:
- Vitamin E. You can purchase vitamin E in gel caps in the vitamin section of your drug store or online. Pierce the capsule with a needle and squeeze out the liquid. Rub the liquid on the scar, massaging gently for three to five minutes. Repeat this daily as long as you see results.
- Coconut oil. Some claim that coconut oil can help to reduce scarring over time, though research is mixed. To use coconut oil on your herpes scar, heat the oil in the microwave, making sure its not too hot. Gently massage the oil into the scar and the area directly around it. Repeat one to two times per day until youre satisfied with the change.
- Aloe vera. This cooling product may be commonly associated with burns, but it may also help ease scarring. Apply the gel directly to the scars. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water and soap.
These home remedies for scarring usually wont get rid of a scar completely.
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Help Prevent Future Cold Sores
Though the virus that causes cold sores does not have a cure, there are measures you can take to prevent outbreaks. These preventive measures include:
- Understanding your cold sore triggers. Figuring out what sets off your cold sore outbreak can help you keep them away in the long term. Some common cold sore triggers include anxiety, sunburn, exhaustion, hormonal changes, the common cold, or minor scratches or injuries to the lip. You may need to avoid excess sun exposure, find ways to reduce anxiety levels, or take other actions to prevent future outbreaks.
- Replacing contaminated items. After you go through the healing process and get rid of your cold, make sure to replace your toothbrush, lip balm, and any other items that made contact with your cold sore and are not easily washed and disinfected. The virus that caused your cold sore can live on these items for days and cause your lips to become reinfected.
- Talking to your doctor or dentist. If you suffer from cold sores often, your doctor or dentist may recommend taking an antiviral medication regularly to help prevent outbreaks. They can also help you identify possible triggers and recommend lifestyle changes to decrease your chances of getting cold sores.
Cold sores can be annoying, painful, and inconvenient. When you have an important event on your calendar, use these tips to get rid of a cold sore fast, prevent future outbreaks, and restore your lovely smile.