What is a cold sore? Cold sore is also known as oral herpes or fever blisters and this usually affect conspicuous parts of the body, such as the mouth, cheeks, nose, fingers, eyelids and lips. This condition is very common and is recurring by nature within the same affected area. Cold sores can both be painful and itchy for most affected individuals. This infects the epidermis of the skin by forming fluid-filled blisters on it. Based on studies, around 50% to 80% of the population worldwide is affected by this condition due to herpes simplex virus. However, not all affected individuals experience outbreaks due to cold sores.
Causes of Cold Sore
As stated above, what causes cold sores is the infection caused by herpes simplex virus. This is the primary reason why individuals experience having cold sores on lip and in other areas as mentioned above. Once the virus infected an individual, the virus stays dormant inside the body for several years without showing any symptoms. However, certain trigger factors can induce the condition, thus resulting to the outbreak of cold sores or blisters.
Some of the factors that can trigger the condition include injured and dried lips, menstruation, stress, sleep disorders or insomnia, excessive exposure to the sun, digestive disorders, tooth extraction, influenza and common cold among others. These are the main factors responsible for the outbreak of the condition. As of the moment, there are no treatments developed for the condition yet. Once the virus infects the person, the chances of eradication are impossible. However, there are preventive measures and remedies available that can help reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.
Treatment of Cold Sore
Cold sores do not really require treatment as the condition may go away on its own after several weeks. However, in case the cold sore or oral herpes symptoms are extremely painful and bothering, then you can opt for a remedy for it. Before a cold sore outbreak, you may experience feeling unusual sensation on your lips. This can be a burning or tingling sensation along with numbness and pain. In case you are experiencing these, you may opt for OTC medications that will help relieve the pain, burning and itching sensations.
- Treatment of cold sores on the lips and on other parts of the body can be done using various kinds of medicines or remedies. There are remedies that can provide a numbing effect on the sores, thus alleviating itching or burning sensation and pain. There are medicines that have antiviral properties and although these do not have any effects on the virus, it can help heal the sores by preventing any secondary infections. Some of the most commonly used OTC topical medications are Benzocaine and Lidocaine. Famciclovir or Famvir, Acyclovir or Zovirax and Valacyclovir or Valtrex are oral medications that can also be helpful in reducing the duration of the outbreak and in reducing the pain.
- Make sure to always wash your face, lips and hands with warm water and mild soap. After washing, apply the medication on the lips and in the surrounding of the affected area using cotton ball. After applying the medication, avoid licking your lips. Apply the medication at least 5 times daily and do not forget to wash your hands thoroughly after applying the medication for cold sores.
- Dry and chapped lips can also trigger the development of cold sores. To prevent this, make sure to keep your lips moisturized to reduce the risk of having an outbreak. Lip balms are helpful in moisturizing the scabs forming on the sores and keeping them from bleeding or cracking.
- Excessive exposure to sunlight can aggravate the symptoms of the condition. If you are prone to cold sore outbreak, use sunblock ointments or lotions before going out of the house.
- Foods rich in lysine are also beneficial against cold sore outbreaks. Fish, beef, chicken, cheese, milk, eggs and yogurt should all be included in your diet to heal the sores. Fruits like pears, apples, apricots, mangoes and summer squash are essential to your diet as well, as these contain high amount of lysine. Lysine-based medications may also be prescribed by your physician to manage the condition.
Since there is no available cure for the condition, prevention is also considered as one of the best cold sore remedies. The treatment or remedy should be initiated during the early stages of the condition to prevent it from worsening. Aside from medications, there are other home remedies that are helpful against cold sores as well. These remedies can help alleviate the symptoms and reduce pain due to the condition. If you are unaware of the most effective remedy against your cold sore problem, you can seek the help of your physician. He/She can also provide you tip on the safety measures that you can follow against cold sore problems.