Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, normally appear on the lip or around the mouth area. These are often caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Apart from being unsightly, these can be very painful. No one is immune to it as male and female adults and children alike can become infected with it.
When you have a cold sore, it isn’t something for you to be embarrassed about. Rather than hide it and not take action, it’s best for you to see a doctor to get it treated right away. There are also many blisters around your lip area that you may mistakenly assume are cold sores but could be something else entirely, so it’s best to get a doctor’s diagnosis. Click this link for a list of some of these other blisters on the mouth that aren’t cold sores.
Alongside your doctor’s orders, there are tried-and-true home remedies you may want to try in order to speed up the recovery of cold sores. Here are six methods you can look into:
- Apply Over-The-Counter Medication
The moment you notice a cold sore coming on, check your medicine cabinet and look for any pain reliever or antiviral cold sore medication you may have. If you do this as soon as a cold sore appears, you may just be able to speed up its healing. Your cold sore cream should contain benzyl alcohol or docosanol for best results. It’s fine if you don’t have such topical treatments readily available in your home because you can easily purchase them at the drugstore without a prescription.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a well-loved household remedy for certain discomforts and illnesses. Many choose to use it for the reason that it’s said to have properties that fight off germs, bacteria, and viruses. However, be careful not to use pure apple cider vinegar as this may be too strong for your cold sore. You have to dilute it before using. Apart from mixing apple cider vinegar with water, here are other mixtures you may want to opt for:
- Apple cider vinegar and tea tree essential oil as the latter may help reduce inflammation
- Apple cider vinegar and honey because honey may also have good antibacterial properties
Apple cider vinegar for cold sores is best applied at least once in the morning and one more time in the evening.
- Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress can also do wonders if you have a cold sore. All you have to do is to wrap ice with a clean towel and dab it on the affected area. This simple cold compress treatment may help reduce inflammation. Also, it can minimize any swelling and redness on the affected area.
If your cold sores start to get itchy, don’t scratch them as you’re only going to worsen their condition. Whenever you get tempted to do so, you may want to apply a cold compress instead.
- Tea Tree Oil
For those of you who love essential oils and have a stash at home, you’ll be glad to know that some of those oils might also be effective in treating cold sores. One of these is tea tree oil, which can possibly reduce inflammation in the area and may also help fight off the herpes simplex virus.
When you use tea tree oil, however, be sure to dilute it first with a carrier oil. On its own, tea tree oil is quite a strong substance, so it may further inflame the cold sore. Typically, a good ratio would be to mix only two drops of tea tree oil with 12 drops of any carrier oil such as jojoba oil.
Apart from tea tree oil, there are other essential oils that might just be as effective. These include:
- Peppermint oil, which have compounds that can possibly kill certain viruses
- Lavender oil, which has substantial anti-inflammatory properties
- Clove oil, which are said to have antiviral and pain-killing properties
- Oregano oil, which has high amounts of carvacrol, may possess antiviral properties
- Thyme oil, a potent agent that might have antiviral effects against the herpes simplex virus
- Chamomile oil, which can be very soothing on the skin
- Eucalyptus oil, which may reduce the severity and duration of cold sores
It’s highly likely that you already have moisturizers at home, one being Vaseline or petroleum jelly, which you may use for keeping the affected area of your lips moist. You can also use any lip balm you may have whenever your lips get dry.
However, it’s best to wait until the cold sore has dried out before you start moisturizing the affected area. Keep in mind that cold sores love moist and warm environments, and this is what you may create on your lip and mouth area if you keep on slathering it with moisturizers. Applying a moisturizer or lip balm once the sore has dried out can also prevent it from bleeding, which aids in faster healing at that stage.
If you haven’t gotten into the habit of using sunscreen, then now’s the best time for you to do so. Sunscreen doesn’t only protect your cold sore while it’s healing, but it also prevents the condition from occurring in the future. For some people, direct exposure to the sun is one of the factors that trigger cold sores, so if this is the case for you, it’s best to develop the habit of protecting your skin against the sun.
When shopping for sunscreen, be sure to choose one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
All these considered, the most important takeaway for you to remember is that there isn’t an overnight cure for cold sores. While the ones mentioned above are potentially effective home remedies, they aren’t medical miracles. And take note that the suggestions here aren’t meant to be a substitute for sound medical advice. It’s still advisable for you to contact a doctor to ensure proper treatment and recovery. Cold sores can get worse if left untreated, so you should find solutions to them as soon as possible instead of hoping that they’ll heal on their own.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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