Cold sores are common but unserious infections that occur in most people, it is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and not caused by cold. It is also called “fever blisters” or “fever sores” and it can appear on any body part.
The most common place they appear is outside the mouth, on the lips, but in some people, they appear on the cheeks, nose, and fingers.
This is not a serious condition but it is life-threatening in those with a compromised immune system and HIV/AIDS. Those with eczema are at risk of developing cold sores on a large part of their bodies.
It can cause other complications when it spreads to other parts of the body, it can affect your vision when it spreads to the eyes or causes encephalitis or meningitis when it spreads to your brain.
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They are characterized by the formation of blisters that break open and ooze out fluids that later form yellow crust or scabs which fall off. This reveals a new skin underneath it.
Cold sores last for one week to ten days and you can spread it to other people when they come in contact with the fluid or kiss you. It is no more contagious when it crusts over completely.
Causes of Cold Sores
The Herpes Simplex Virus is responsible for this condition. You can get infected when you come in contact with this virus and you can get it when you touch people, things or surfaces that carry this virus.
When you kiss an infected person or share eating utensils, towels, razors or clothes, you become infected. You get cold sores 20 days after contacting the virus.
It can also happen in your genital area, this is called genital herpes and it can be transmitted by oral sex. The sores usually appear near the part of the body it entered.
Symptoms of Cold Sores
If you are having cold sores for the first time, the symptoms will be severe but on other occasions, it will be mild and some people don’t even experience any symptoms because the body has already developed antibodies. This can make kids seriously ill who are having it for the first time.
Below are the common symptoms of cold sores that appear in 99% of people.
- Tingling, itching and a burning sensation in the area it is about to appear or in the area of a previous outbreak
- Blisters filled with fluid, they are itchy and painful anywhere they appear
- Fever and flu-like symptoms, some have a high body temperature
- Swelling of the lips
- Lips, mouth or tongue pain
- Sore throats
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea and headaches
- Swollen glands
Home Remedies for Cold Sores
The gel gotten from aloe vera leaf is used in the treatment of cold sores because it has antiviral properties. The gel also contains enzymes, hormones and other important nutrients that help stop this infection and prevent its spread.
It also relieves the symptoms of cold sores like inflammation and itching and it speeds up healing. Apply fresh aloe vera gel directly on the sores many times daily till it clears off.
This herb is loaded with antiviral compounds and that is why it is a potent treatment for cold sores. Studies have shown that peppermint oil can inhibit the activities of the herpes simplex virus and it has a high level of virucidal effect against both types of the herpes simplex virus.
It is the most effective therapy in the early stages of cold sores, apply peppermint essential oil directly on the sores, you can dilute it with coconut oil if you have sensitive skin or if the blisters have opened.
This immune boosting nutrient will help your system overcome this infection fast. It increases the number of your white blood cells and this will help kill off this virus. The white blood cells defend the body from foreign invaders and harmful microbes like the herpes simplex virus.
Rich sources of vitamin C are kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, peppers, grapefruit, strawberries and dark green vegetables.
Echinacea herbal tea is a powerful remedy for cold sores. It boosts a weakened immune system and helps the body fight off this virus. It also relieves inflammation, pain and other symptoms of cold sores.
Take Echinacea tea three times daily when you have cold sores and continue until it is completely gone.
Cornstarch paste is one of the most commonly used home remedies for cold sores, it corrects the pH of the affected area and makes the place uncomfortable for the virus.
Cold sores survive only in an environment that is too acidic, so cornstarch increases the pH and makes the area alkaline.
Add water to a little quantity of cornstarch and mix it to form a paste, apply this paste on the affected region, do this at night and wash it off the following morning. Do this once every day till you recover.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It is a known fact that a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar a day prevents cold sores from happening to you in the first place. This is because ACV has an alkalizing effect, which reduces acidity which the herpes simplex virus requires to thrive.
ACV alkalizes the body and hastens healing. Take two tablespoons of ACV daily when you have cold sores, also use a cotton ball and apply ACV on the affected region directly many times a day till you recover.
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This is another powerful remedy for cold sore. It hastens healing and relieves the symptoms of cold sores especially the inflammation. Crush fresh cloves of garlic and apply the paste on the affected region and wash it off after sometimes.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
This oil has analgesic properties which prevent and treat cold sores. It is an effective remedy for cold sores but it should not be applied directly to your lips when you feel that tingling sensation implying the formation of cold sores, mix it with aloe vera gel before applying it.
It can be applied directly without mixing it when you have a cold sore already.