Cold sores are small, harmless-looking, blisters on or around the lips, or less often around the nostrils. They usually begin as a cluster of small, red bumps that turn into fluid-filled, painful blisters. Cold sores are usually caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1. Exposure to this virus is most common in childhood. It can remain quietly inactive for many months or years until, it is reactivated. The virus then travels down the sensory nerves to the skin, where it multiplies, causing blisters.Many people have recurrent cold sore outbreaks, but the good news is these tend to become milder and less frequent with age, and may even stop occurring.
A tingling, burning, painful or itchy sensation or redness around their lips or mouth. After redness and swelling, blisters form, then ooze and dry. Then a yellow crust forms and eventually falls off, uncovering pink-colored skin that heals without a scar. This whole process if untreated, usually takes a weeks time or sometimes a month to completely heal.
Cold Sores Treatment
Cold sores can be treated to help reduce pain and speed healing. You can opt for home remedies to treat cold sores. If you get cold sores frequently or if they are severe, seek advice from your doctor about which type of treatment is better for you.
Cold Sores Home Remedies
- Petroleum Jelly: Cover the cold sore with petroleum jelly. This will speed up healing and help protect it from secondary infection with bacteria.
- Change Your Toothbrush: Get a new toothbrush after the blister has formed and again after the attack has cleared up. Toothbrushes can aggravate the virus.
- Protect Your Lips from the Sun: Use sunscreen lotion on your lips.
- Don't squeeze, pinch or pick a cold sore.
- Ice pack: Ice packs and cold compresses will provide some temporary relief.
- Milk: Soak a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the sore to relieve pain.
- Zinc Tablets: Sucking on zinc lozenges can boost the immune system.
- Tea Bag/Peppermint Tea Bag: Apply warm tea bag to the blister. The tannins in the tea will help expedite the healing of the area, reducing the time necessary for the scab.
- Tea Tree Oil/Oregano Oil: Apply any one of these directly to the tingling area. This will inhibit the further development of the cold sore. You can also apply Nail Polish Remover and hydrogen peroxide.
Cold Sores Prevention
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
- Boost up your immune system.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep every day.
- Eat a balanced diet : fresh foods, fish and mung beans and avoid eating nuts, seeds and chocolate.
- Avoid sharing items that may have come in contact with a cold sore.
- Avoid kissing.
- Avoid the things that cause your cold sores, such as stress and colds or the flu.
- When you have a cold sore, make sure to wash your hands often, and try not to touch your sore.