Small, painful blisters filled with fluid characterize cold sores and these may appear like eruptions in or around the oral cavity. Most of the time, cold sores appear in clusters and can be easily seen on the lips, the tongue, the cheeks, gums or at the roof of the mouth. However, this may spread to the nose and chin as well. Cold sores can also be referred to as oral herpes or fever blisters, and although it is not a serious condition, it can still bring on a lot of discomfort.
Cold sores usually last for several days but it could recur anytime. Aside from that, the condition is highly contagious and it can be transmitted from one person to another through physical contact. Unless controlled properly, the infection can spread to various areas of the body. A cold sore condition is due to an infection caused by HSV or the herpes simplex virus. This virus has two different types – HSV-1 and HSV-2 – and the first type is considered as the most common cause of the condition.
Symptoms of Cold Sores
When the virus enters the body through ruptures or breaks on the skin tissue, it will not present any symptoms at all. The virus will stay dormant at the roots of the cells within the facial area. Once it is activated, it will start to multiply and this is the only time when you will notice the symptoms of the condition. These symptoms may vary depending on the stage of the cold sores. During the initial stage, while it is still travelling from the roots and up to the surface of the nerves, the symptoms that you may experience include pain, tingling or itching sensation and tenderness on the affected area. These can be accompanied by headache, fever and fatigue.
On the next stage, you may notice one or more reddish or pinkish bumps within the affected area along with small watery blisters right on its top. This can cause pain and swelling on and around the area and after several days, these blisters will start breaking up and you will notice fluid oozing from it. This fluid can be very infectious and this can spread the condition to other parts of the body. Once you notice that yellow skin starts showing up and covering the ruptured blisters, this is an indication that your condition is going through its final stage and the cold sores are starting to heal. When this yellow skin flaked off, a pink skin will replace it and once the skin returned to its normal color, it is an indication that the condition has already healed.
Treatment for Cold Sore
No treatment is necessary for this condition since it usually go away on its own. However, there are OTC ointments available and you can use these to obtain temporary relief against the painful symptoms of the condition. However, a consultation with a physician is necessary in case you are experiencing frequent cold sore outbreaks to obtain a cold sore treatment. Your physician might advise you to consume anti-viral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks, along with vitamin supplements to strengthen your immune system and suppress future outbreaks.
Remedies for Cold Sore
Some individuals afflicted with cold sores choose to treat the condition naturally, since natural remedies do not cause any adverse reactions. Some of the most effective cold sore remedies include the following:
Application of Ice
Applying ice on your cold sore cannot only provide relief against pain but it can also suppress the growth of the virus, thus preventing the condition from spreading. Wrap a few ice cubes on a soft cloth and gently apply it on the affected area for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
Aloe Vera Gel
This can be obtained by extracting fresh aloe vera leaves. Aloe vera gel is considered as one of the most potent remedies for cold sores. This can provide a soothing effect against the itching sensation caused by the condition and with continuous use this can cure the blisters. It would be best to prepare your own aloe vera gel instead of opting for creams with aloe vera ingredient, as the concentration of aloe vera in these creams is relatively low.
This remedy is being used traditionally against cold sore conditions, as it can dry up the sores quickly. Baking soda can provide a soothing effect against pain and itching. You can apply baking soda to the affected area using a damp cotton ball. Apply it until a thick coat is formed and then apply it on the area affected with cold sores. Leave it there and let it dry for better results.
This is considered as one of the most effective cold sore home remedies. Prepare a mixture of one teaspoon of licorice root and a cup of water. Boil the mixture for at least 10 minutes. If the condition is still in its initial stage, you can drink this as tea four to five times a day. This can help you prevent the symptoms of cold sore from worsening. You can also apply it topically on the affected area using a cotton ball to cure the condition quickly.
When afflicted with cold sores, it is necessary to maintain proper hygiene to prevent the condition from spreading further. Avoid touching the sores even if they are itching so that it will not be irritated. Make sure to wash your hand thoroughly before applying topical medications to the sore, as well as after application. It is also necessary to keep the infected area clean to avoid further infection.