Cold sores are also known as blisters caused by fever. These are small sores or lesions that are blister like and appear on the face as well as inside of the mouth. The cold sores are known to be painful. They might bring on a burning sensation and itching. They will eventually burst and then crust over. Cold sores appear on lips, check, chin, can appear inside nostrils or even on the gums or the roof of the mouth.
Causes Of Cold Sores
Cold sores are known to be caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are similar viral strains that are known to bring on such sores.
- The common cause of cold sores are herpes simplex type 1 also known as HSV-1
- Though more uncommon, herpes simplex type 2 is also known to be a common cause of cold sores that might come on when one has oral sex with someone affected by genital herpes
- HSV-1 is a virus that is easily spread from an infected person
- If a child is kissed by someone who is affected by a cold sore, they will infect the child with the disease.
- When things are shared with an infected person like eating utensils, towels, razors and bathroom items, the chances of spreading the infection is high
- The virus is known to be lying dormant in the nervous system until a trigger sets it off
- Triggers for the herpes virus can be several, from mental stress or depression to injury of an affected, menstruation as well as intense sun exposure
Symptoms Of Cold Sore
Those who are infected by the herpes simplex virus are known to not have any symptom and one will not know that they are infected unless something triggers the virus to break out. Thus, till an outbreak of cold cores comes about and there are symptoms along with a primary infection, it is often difficult to identify the infection. In children there are usually no signs or symptoms detected. However, when an outbreak occurs it can be severe and brings on the following symptoms:
- Lesions in tongue or mouth
- Blisters inside the mouth
- Swelling of lips
- Pain in mouth or tongue
- High temperature
These are symptoms of herpes simplex gingivostoma and these symptoms might last for a week or more. While these sever symptoms might not occur after the primary infection has taken place, the cold sore outbreaks might recur from time to time. Even though adults might get gingivostomatitis, patients are mostly young children in such cases. For adults the primary infection is akin to pharyngotonsilitis. Here the tonsils swells and one has sore throat as well as glandular fever symptoms.
Home Remedies For Cold Sores
1. Avoid Physical Contact
When you suspect that you are infected by cold sores, you need to prevent physical contact with people especially in a way that bodily fluids are transferred like saliva or sweat.
• Avoid kissing people when you have cold sores
• Avoid skin contact even with adults
2. Avoid Sharing Things
When one has cold sores caused by the herpes virus which is extremely potent, one need to avoid sharing things of personal use to ensure minimum exposure for the others:
• One should not share their personal toiletry like towels, soap
• Personal cosmetics should not be shared
• Cutleries, plates and cups should be separated
3. Avoid Spreading The Cold Sores To Other Areas
One should even avoid touching the sores. If that is done one should not touch other unaffected parts of their body like:
4. Control Mental Stress
It is known that the virus remains dormant in one’s system unless there are certain triggers which bring on an outbreak. Mental stress can act as such a trigger. Thus, it is necessary that mental stress is kept under control by:
• A proper diet and rest
• Regular exercises and relaxation techniques
5. Following A Healthy Diet
It is necessary that one follows a healthy diet to keep away the outbreak of cold sores:
• Plenty of fruits should be consumed to ensure enough of micronutrients in the system
• Vegetables will fortify the system and provide necessary fiber to remove toxins from the system
6. Use Of Sun Block
It is necessary that intense sun exposure be minimized. When one is exposed to the intense sunlight, they might trigger the cold sores from coming on. Hence it should be prevented by:
• Putting on sun block
• Ensuring the sun block has a high sun protection factor
7. Covering A Cold Sore
A cold sore should be covered with petroleum jelly in order to speed up the healing process. There could also be secondary infection caused. Again, covering the cold sore with the right medicated cream will help to numb the pain.
• Cover the cold sore with petroleum jelly
• Put on ointment which contains benzocaine to numb the pain
8. Do Not Camouflage With Makeup
One should not try to camouflage the cold sores with makeup. If one puts cosmetic cream on such areas they might get aggravated.
• Avoid heavy makeup on cold sore affected areas
• Use petrol jelly to protect the blisters and then apply light makeup if necessary
9. Changing The Toothbrush
It is necessary to do this step in order to prevent a possible cause of infection:
• A new toothbrush should be used if a blister has formed
• Even after the attack clears up the tooth brush should be changed as they are known to harbor the virus and it will then persist and lead to severe and frequent outbreaks
10. Protecting Lips From The Sun
Not only should one apply sunscreen on their body, they need to protect the exposed facial areas including the lips. This is a vulnerable area where the herpes virus strikes again and again.
• Apply sunscreen on lips before going out
• Do not share lip balm or lipstick with others
• Use an sunscreen for the lips with an SPF of 15 and more
11. Avoid Touching Affected Area
Many people make the mistake of doing the following:
• Pinching a cold sore
• Picking on it
• Squeezing it
Such actions will lead to bacterial infection. Again, as the cold sores are contagious one needs to avoid kissing when there is an outbreak as well as sharing towels, cups and other such items. The hands need to be washed frequently to avoid the cold sores spreading to other areas.
12. Trying Out Painkillers
If you are suffering from pain from the cold sores you could take some over the counter painkillers to reduce the pain which are usually available at home:
13. Avoid Triggering Off The Cold Sores
One needs to know that, when there is no outbreak of cold sores, the infection is lying dormant in the nervous system. Thus, triggers need to be avoided:
• Infections like cold or flu
• Stress or fatigue
• Intense sun exposure
• Compromised immune system
• Food allergies
These are some triggers that can bring on an outbreak of cold sores. Thus, one needs to do follow a regular, consistent and healthy lifestyle like mediation, exercise, yoga and a healthy diet to keep their system healthy and the virus under check.
14. Food To Avoid
There are some foods that should be avoided if one is having cold sores outbreak:
• Potato chips
• Citrus fruits
• Acidic or salty snack items
15. Use Of Licorice
It has been seen that licorice has certain ingredients in it which help to stop the cold sore virus cells in their tracks.
• One could try chewing a licorice whip
• The glycyrrhizic acid in the licorice helps to control the virus
One needs to ensure that the licorice candies are made of real licorice.
16. Use Ice Packs
One could use an ice pack on the cold sore to cut down the time that it is around.
• if one uses ice pack or cold compress then temporary relief is provided
• popsicles also work but one should not consume such sweet items much
17. Use Of Milk
• use of milk or applying it on the affected area will help to reduce the cold sores
• If one applies cold milk in the areas where an outbreak is about to occur, it will start off the healing process from the very start.
18. Use Of Zinc Lozenge
Cold sores are often triggered by stress and at such times the following trick helps:
• suck on zinc lozenges
• take on a healthy diet alongside
Indeed, the main stress could be placed on consuming a healthy diet. One should ensure a stress free and balanced lifestyle along side to ensure that the outbreaks happen less and less and are controlled.
Are cold cores bringing you down? Do you wish to get rid of the frequent symptoms? Follow the above remedies to get relief.