Get Rid Of Cold Sores – “What the …?” is the usual exclamation when you look at the mirror for the first time in the morning, and you find blisters on your lips. For the next few seconds, you will be wondering what you will do to get rid of them.
It is not just that these blisters spoil your look for the day; they are also painful and annoying. These blisters are called cold sores. They are common with individuals who just recovered from a fever.
What Are Cold Sores?
Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology, described cold sore as:
A viral infection that leads to a group of red, painful bumps and blisters, usually around the lips.
Cold sores appear as fluid-filled blisters beneath the surface of the skin around the mouth. They can break open, ooze, and crust over, lasting for around 7 to 10 days.
Thankfully, there are natural remedies you can use to reduce this duration and ease the discomfort caused by the sores.
What Causes Cold Sores?
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It begins with a niggling itch, tingle, or burning sensation in your lip. Not long after you feel that way or maybe after a night’s sleep, you will find the blisters appearing on your lips.
When it occurs the first time, it usually appears as a blistery rash. Newly erupted blisters are highly contagious until they dry out, so you may want to watch your way around people when you have them.
Also, the first attack of cold sores may be accompanied by a fever, sore throat, aches and pains, and a headache.
Once the herpes virus is in your body, outbreaks may recur. The virus tends to stay in your body forever once it gains entrance.
However, the frequency and severity of cold sores decline after age 35. Recurrent outbreaks can be triggered by factors such as stress, hormonal fluctuations, surgery, fevers, illness, or sun exposure.
Precautions To Avoid Cold Sores
Bearing in mind that cold sores are contagious, you can take some precautions to prevent the outbreak. Save yourself the embarrassment by taking the following precautions:
- Once you feel the burning sensation and you are sure that a cold sore is on its way, take an antiviral medication to knock it off.
- Do not share items like a toothbrush or spoon with a family member who has cold sores.
- Do not kiss your partner on the lips if there are cold sores on them.
- Eat well. A robust immune system is the most significant attack on the viruses responsible for cold sores. It is best to boost your immune system with good food before you start going for supplements or medications.
11 Best Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Cold Sores
Having gotten all the knowledge above, let us now consider the home remedies we can use to get rid of cold sores fast.
In this article, we shall be looking at 11 best home remedies that can help you get rid of cold sores.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
In your attempt to get rid of cold sores fast, you can use apple cider vinegar to reduce the risk of secondary infection. This is due to the antiseptic properties of apple cider vinegar.
You can use it as a topical treatment. Though it may not heal the sore, it will help remove the burning sensation of the sore and grant you some relief.
Many persons have also observed that drinking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day can stop cold sores from appearing in the first place.
This is possible because cold sores do not thrive in an acidic environment, and drinking apple cider vinegar helps to create pH balance in your body.
2. Use Essential Oils
There are essential oils that are effective in treating cold sores. For example, the antiviral properties of peppermint oil can inhibit the herpes virus responsible for cold sores. So applying peppermint oil on those sores can help the wound dry faster.
Tea tree oil also has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal effects that qualify it as a treatment for cold sore. It has also been found to speed the healing process of these sores.
Additionally, there is Lavender oil. It can also be used to manage cold sores. It has terrific soothing effects that can help reduce pain and itching from a cold sore.
For best results, combine the power of honey and these three essential oils. To prepare this remedy, you will need:
- 1/2 cup of raw honey
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
Once your ingredients are ready, mix them in a glass container; and the treatment is ready for use. You can dab the mixture onto a cold sore twice daily. Whenever you apply it, allow it to sit on the cold sore for a while.
3. Use Lemon balm
Do not ever underestimate the power of lemon. My elder sister always requests I get lemons for her whenever I go to the market, and I never understood why. It was not until I did a little research on them did I appreciate her comfort after taking them.
Lemon is useful in taking care of many body care problems, and cold sores are not an exception.
To get rid of cold sores, a lip balm that contains sunblock will come in handy to ease discomfort. And a lip balm with at least 1 percent lemon is a perfect choice.
Lemon balm has antiviral properties that can help reduce the redness and swelling associated with a blister. It can also protect against future infections.
Alternatively, you can also use a compress containing a lemon balm infusion. Simply hold the compress over the blisters to ease discomfort. You may also choose a lemon tea compress instead.
Also, drinking lemon tea may provide similar benefits. The tea may not be delicious but think about the relief it will give you and gulp it all.
4. Apply Ice
Applying a cold compress can grant you temporary relief from the pain of cold sores by easing the sting.
Also, it has been observed that ice can reduce the inflammation of the lesions. So applying a cold pack to the affected area will do you a lot of good.
However, in an attempt to numb the pain, please do not put the ice directly on your skin as this can result in a lot of damage.
For convenience, I suggest that you go for reusable four-inch gel packs. They have a protective cloth on one side that will be mild on your face. You can always store them in the refrigerator, so you are always prepared.
Also, holding a cold, wet towel to your lip for at least 10 minutes at different times every day is highly recommended.
Caution: Do not share your cold pack with anyone so that they do not catch the virus.
5. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
Applying Aloe Vera gel to the affected area has two advantages. It can soothe the inflamed sores and provide needed moisture.
Due to the anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects of aloe vera gel, it can inhibit the growth of the virus responsible for the cold sores.
The good thing about Aloe Vera is that it is widely available. If you do not have the plant growing in your house, I suggest you start growing it.
It can be useful in getting rid of other skin problems apart from cold sores such as sunburns and acne. So having the plant close by could save you a lot.
6. Avoid Triggers
It is rare for a core sore to just spring up. It is usually triggered. Popular triggers are sunny days at the beach and plenty of stress.
As much as you can, stay away from these situations and avoid other triggers that may be peculiar to you.
As a matter of fact, reducing the stress you go through can help prevent cold sores. The herpes virus responsible for cold sores can come out of dormancy due to stress.
To help you reduce stress, you can try meditation and regular exercises. Also, limit those activities that cause you stress. If this approach cannot stop them from breaking out, at least it can stop them from getting worse.
7. Stop Picking Cold Sores
While you are applying any of the remedies prescribed in this article, you mustn’t touch the sores with your fingers. This is to prevent spreading the virus to other parts of your body.
If that happens, your outbreak will only get worse. So, keep your hands away from your mouth. Also wash your hands often, especially when you touch your face.
8. Sleep On A Pile Of Pillows
This may sound odd, but using pillows to prop your head up at night will elevate the affected area. This will, in turn, help to reduce the swelling. And when the swelling does not have room to increase, the sore will get healed faster.
Do not argue about it; just try it and let me know the outcome in the comments section.
9. Take Supplements
Taking supplements that contain the right nutrients can help boost your immune system to fight the herpes simplex virus. Such supplements include:
- Vitamin E helps the body repair damaged skin cells and grow new ones
- Vitamin C can boost levels of white cells to fight the virus
10. Use Effective Topical Products
Certain topical products can be of great help if applied when the sores first appear. These topical products must have anti-viral properties for them to be effective.
Applying an anaesthetic cream on cold sores can numb sensitive nerve endings and offer you some relief. Interestingly, you can prepare some of these topical products by yourself at home.
Good examples of topical products that can help you are:
1. Abreva Docosanol 10% Cream Tube: Applying this cream will help shorten healing time for the cold sores. It can also help relieve the itching and burning symptoms that accompany cold sores.
2. Bacitracin Zinc Ointment: Bacitracin has been used to treat open wounds due to its antibiotic properties. It helps to prevent wounds from getting infected by bacteria. Applying this ointment on those cold sores will kill susceptible bacteria and hinder their growth.
3. Quantum Super Lysine Plus Coldstick: This moisturizing Lysine cold stick is most useful in preventing cold sores triggered by sun exposure. Applying this cream up to five times a day once you start feeling a sensation can stop the sores from appearing.
4. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen: As we have already seen, cold sores can be triggered by sun exposure. Therefore using a facial sunscreen to protect your skin is a good idea.
What best facial sunscreen is there to use if not the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen?
Apart from protecting your lips while the cold sore is healing, it can also reduce future outbreaks when you wear it daily on your lips. Plus, it has a non-greasy, matte finish.
Also, it will not irritate sensitive skin, so there is no cause for alarm. You will do well to apply it whenever you expect to be in the sun.
5. Hydrogen peroxide and Alcohol: Rubbing Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol can keep cold sores clean.
6. Licorice Powder: Mixing licorice powder with water or petroleum jelly and apply it directly on cold sores will stop the sores from spreading and counteract symptoms. It is best used overnight.
7. Cornstarch Paste: Applying this paste will neutralize the pH of the cold sore and eventually soothe pain and inflammation. Simply mix cornstarch and water and dab it on the sore a few times in a day.
8. Rhubarb and Sage Cream: Applying this cream can fasten the healing of the sores.
11. Use Over-the-counter Medications
Certain over-the-counter medications have been proven to help reduce the duration of cold sores.
They are also useful in managing other symptoms. Additionally, many of them offer child-friendly dosages. These medications include:
- Pain relievers: Taking pain relievers can grant you some relief from cold sores. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the most readily available pain killers. They are instrumental in easing the pain associated with a cold sore. Other pain relievers are Anbesol and Orajel.
- Abreva and Zilactin
- Quantum Health Super Lysine+ Tablets
How To Prevent A Recurrence
Now that you have these remedies, you can easily apply them to solve your cold sore problems. After you have dealt with the cold sores, there are measures you can take to prevent them from recurring. These include:
1. Get A New Toothbrush
Having suffered from cold sores, your toothbrush is most likely infected by the virus. If you continue with the same toothbrush even after the lesions have been dealt with, you stand the risk of developing the sores again.
So, getting a new toothbrush is best. Also, ensure you dispose of your old toothbrush properly to avoid someone else coming in contact with it and getting infected.
2. Change Your Pillowcase
After you have treated your cold sores; you must change your pillowcase and even your bedspread if you may. Wash the old ones with hot water to get rid of the contamination.
3. Eat Immune Boosting Foods
The best way to prevent cold sores from returning is by getting your body ready to fight any new attack. To keep your immune system healthy, take foods rich in vitamin C and Zinc.
Both Vitamin C and Zinc have antioxidant properties that increase the ability of your immune system to fight off the virus that causes cold sores.
Food items high in Vitamin C that you can take are berries, kiwis, citrus fruits, and melons. For zinc, you can go for beans, poultry products, shellfish, and whole grains.
Drinking echinacea tea is also the right choice. It will not only boost your immune system but also, it will protect collagen (which is an important content of your skin and mucous membranes) against breakdown by the cold sore virus.
I do hope you found this information on how to get rid of cold sores fast helpful. I’m sure you did! Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section.
I wish you a lifetime free of cold sores. Cheers!