How to Treat a Cold Sore
If you are asking "how to treat a cold sore?", you can choose from a number of effective ways, though an absolute cure for the underlying HSV-1 virus does not currently exist. Avoiding your triggers, keeping your immune system strong and natural remedies all decrease the frequency and duration of outbreaks as well as ease painful and unsightly symptoms associated with a cold sore.
How To Ease The Discomfort of a Herpes Cold Sore
Also known as fever blisters, cold sores cause discomfort to many sufferers. The two-week process of the pus-filled blister breaking and scabbing over multiple times leads to itching, pain and burning sensations. You don’t have to search far to treat a cold sore because some treatments can be found in your home:
- Apply ice – the chill of the ice provides instant pain relief and may decrease inflammation, making the sore less conspicuous
- Apply heat – if ice doesn’t work, try a warm compress; however, since heat might break the blister, be mindful of contaminating other surfaces with a towel that may contain pus
- Seal the sore – use a cotton swab to place petroleum jelly directly onto the cold sore on lip; this provides soothing relief, hastens healing and creates a protective barrier that stops the infection from spreading
- Use moistened tea bags – anti-viral tannins found in tea help treat a cold sore, while the moist bag decreases your discomfort
Also keep the area clean and dry by dabbing the area with salt water and patting it dry with a clean towel throughout the day. And, even though the sore may itch terribly during the scabbing phase, do not pick or scratch at the sore.
Protecting others through spreading the virus is important when considering when looking to get rid of a cold sore. Sharing towels or utensils and kissing a loved one during a herpes cold sore outbreak can easily transfer HSV-1 to another person.
Simple precautions also reduce the chance of future flare-ups, including:
- Keep a spare toothbrush – always start using a new toothbrush once you get rid of a cold sore
- Buy small toothpaste bottles – if you’re concerned about waste, don’t apply toothpaste directly onto a brush
- Keep your hands clean – you might not even realize that you scratched, rubbed or touched the fever blister, so keep a hand sanitizer and wash your hands throughout the day
Treat a Cold Sore with a Strong Immune System
Taking care of your body decreases your propensity to cold sores, especially if you are already prone to infection due to a compromised immune system.
You might be surprised that the best ways to keep your immune defenses strong are to eat a balanced diet filled with fruits and veggies, get sufficient sleep, avoid stress and exercise. Don’t underestimate the power of hydration – drinking lots of fluids keeps lips moist from the inside out.
Additional ways to treat a cold sore through prevention include avoiding your triggers and protecting lips from extreme hot and cold temperatures and windy condition with SPF balm. Vitamin C and Zinc supplements boost the immune system, while applying Zinc topically speeds up healing.
Natural Remedies for a Cold Sore
Many natural substances offer an effective means to get rid of a cold sore fast.
One of the most effective compounds to treat a cold sore is Lysine. It’s an amino acid that can be taken as a supplement, found in many cold sore remedies or obtained through diet with foods such as soy and milk products, fish, potatoes and legumes.
If you suffer from frequent fever blisters, ask your doctor to check for a Vitamin B12 deficiency; low levels are easily corrected with monthly shots and/or a daily supplement.
You can also treat a cold sore with:
- Tea Tree Oil – a powerful cold sore treatment known for its anti-viral, anti-biotic and analgesic effects, dilute the tincture in water before applying
- Witch Hazel – works to dry out the sore; try out on a “test patch” of skin, as it’s known to aggravate certain people
- Alcohol – apply after the blister breaks to help dry out the sore
Additional Cold Sore Treatment
In addition to the above cold sore remedies, you can try over-the-counter treatments or, in extreme cases, ask your doctor for a prescription medication. Homeopathic remedies and supplements that contain multiple natural compounds may help to get rid of a cold sore.
Know your triggers, keep your immune system strong and experiment with different natural options and you will find the best way for you to treat a cold sore.
For more information on cold sores check out:
“How To Get Rid of Cold Sores”
“Cold Sores on Lips”
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