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How To Get Rid of Cold Sores?

Apr 8, 2024Oral health

How To Get Rid of Cold Sores?

Unfortunately, there is no quick remedy for cold sores, which means that individuals have to go through a healing process that typically lasts around one to two weeks. However, there are different strategies that can be used to help get rid of the cold sores faster.

Learn about three effective methods to alleviate a cold sore or speed up the healing process:

1. Try home remedies: Applying timely treatments can help alleviate discomfort, reduce inflammation, and potentially speed up the healing process of a cold sore:

  • Cold, damp washcloth
  • Ice or cold compress
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen

2. Apply topical creams and ointments: There are different non-prescription ointments and creams available for effective pain management, such as lidocaine and benzocaine. Furthermore, the use of certain products containing docosanol or benzyl alcohol, when applied generously during the initial stages, may potentially expedite the healing process.

3. Take prescription medications: Cold sores can be treated with antiviral drugs like acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir, and penciclovir to speed up their healing process. Medical practitioners may choose to prescribe antiviral medication if there are regular outbreaks or severe effects from cold sore infections.

The most effective approach for rapid elimination of a cold sore involves starting treatment promptly. A burning or tingling sensation on the lips or face can be an early sign of a cold sore forming. Therefore, starting the process of reducing inflammation and treating the cold sore as soon as possible will help speed up the recovery process.

What is a cold sore?

Many people are familiar with cold sores, which are fluid-filled blisters typically located on or near the mouth. It should be noted that these blisters can also appear on other areas of the face, including the cheeks, nose, and chin. One of the main causes of these sores is the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).

What does a cold sore look like?

Cold sores typically appear as small blisters around the lips and mouth. These persistent sores can be found mainly on one side of the mouth, but may also appear on the cheeks, nose, and chin. After appearing, the blisters release fluid and eventually form a hardened outer layer. The process of recovery typically occurs within a timeframe of one to two weeks.

Are cold sores contagious?

Yes, it is widely accepted that cold sores are contagious. Blisters can easily spread from one person to another through saliva or physical contact with an infected individual.

What causes cold sores?

Cold sores, also referred to as oral herpes, are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which has earned them their common nickname. This virus is highly contagious and spreads through close contact or saliva. It can be transmitted through activities like kissing or sharing items with someone who has a cold sore, such as utensils, straws, towels, or lip balm.

The signs of HSV-1 infection are usually mild, which may lead to a lack of awareness of its presence. After initial exposure, children may experience a slight rise in body temperature and the development of small blisters in and around their mouths.

How can you prevent cold sores?

HSV-1 infection is a lifelong condition, remaining present throughout one’s entire life. While the root cause of cold sores cannot be cured, practicing precautionary measures can greatly reduce the chances of experiencing an outbreak.

To reduce the risk of getting HSV-1, it is important to follow certain preventive measures when close to individuals with cold sores:

  • Refrain from engaging in kisses or close, personal interactions.
  • Refrain from sharing towels, razors, dishes, cutlery, straws, lip balm, or lipstick with others.
  • Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands before touching your face, eyes, or sensitive areas.
  • Refrain from engaging in oral sex, particularly during periods of active outbreaks. Kissing and skin contact are commonly recognized as methods of HSV-1 transmission. Engaging in oral sex or kissing with an existing outbreak can cause irritation in the affected area. It is recommended to wait until a blister has healed before engaging in kissing or oral sex.
  • To protect your lips from the sun, you can use either a zinc oxide cream or a lip balm with sun protection.
  • Moisturize: To prevent dry and uncomfortable sensations, regularly apply moisturizing cream or balm to your lips.
  • Take lysine supplements: Scientific evidence supports the use of oral lysine supplements or topical lysine creams for outbreak prevention and accelerated healing of outbreaks.
  • One can try different relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and meditation, to effectively manage stress. Incorporating these approaches can reduce the chances of triggering an outbreak, ultimately promoting overall well-being.

If you have previously encountered HSV-1, following these actions can help reduce the chances of a cold sore outbreak:

  • Try to stay healthy: Fever can cause the development of a cold sore, which is sometimes referred to as a fever blisters.
  • Get enough rest: Exhaustion can decrease the efficiency of your immune system, making you more vulnerable to illnesses.
  • Wear lip balm with SPF: Preventing a potential outbreak involves protecting your lips from sunburn.

It is important to exercise caution when being near infants if you have a cold sore. It is important to consistently maintain cleanliness by frequently washing your hands, and it is advisable to refrain from kissing a baby until any sores have completely healed.

There are preventive measures and treatments available for cold sores to alleviate the condition, which can cause chronic discomfort. These strategies can help reduce symptoms and speed up the healing process of current cold sores, although they cannot completely cure them or HSV-1.

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