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Cold Sores on Lips - Pictures, Causes, Treatment, Home remedies, Prevention

Updated on December 31, 2013

What is Cold Sores on Lips?

Cold sores are one of the common types of mouth ulcer. Cold sores on the mouth can make a person physically uncomfortable for it can appear nastily. These sores may appear small, painful, or as fluid blisters on the lips. This is also referred as the fever blister for this cold sore accompanies fever and may entirely because of the infection that has developed with it. Cold sores affect a number of people and can be readily transmitted from one person to another, if not careful. Cold sore would start with pain and itching around the area and may or may not develop into a fluid-filled blister. Eventually the sores will dry up for a week. Recurrence is a possibility, for the cause of this cold sore is mostly viral. A lot of varying factors are pointed out to cause this condition to recur; these are constant exposure to sunlight, emotional distress, and illness.

What causes Cold sores on lip?

The primary cause that of cold sores is frequently pointed to a virus named herpes simplex (HSV). This virus may linger dormant in the body and can be activated by triggering factors. This causative agent has two types; these are HSV type I and II. But the usual culprit for cold sores is the herpes simplex virus type I. The type II herpes simplex virus is normally transmitted sexually while type I is orally transmitted but not leaving out the possibility of sexual transfer. This infectious oral condition may spread from one person to another with the simple act of kissing or direct contact with the sores. A person is most contagious when the sores have already developed into blisters and crusts. But as these have dried, less risk for transmission is attained. Because this virus can stay dormant in a person’s body and may incubate before it may present itself, asymptomatic affected people may pass this condition from others. As this condition lay in a person’s body, some conditions are said to be triggering factors for cold sore outbreaks. These include fever or flu, sun exposure (constant), stress, hormonal changes and trauma to the skin. Remember that these sores can be recurrent especially to those who are intermittently exposed to the virus. Others are lucky enough to have no reappearance of these bothering sores on the mouth, but some are just unfortunate to experience this for countless times.

Other researches suggest that acquiring cold sores are linked to poor diet. Having low vitamin B12, according to a medical research done in England, can precipitate cold sore formation. This has been supported because tests showed from patients with cold sores have low vitamin B12 in their system. Along with the research, treating the patients with vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements has improved the patient’s condition from cold sores.

Cold sores on lips Pictures


Several medications are prepared in different forms for cold sores. These would include prescription drugs and others are simply over the counter. These drugs were prepared to treat the presenting symptoms of the condition. First in line we have topical anesthetics that can reduce the pain and itching sensation on the cold sore. Products were specifically prepared to avoid drying up or cracking the lesion. These are the so-called skin protectants such as allantoin and petrolatum-containing products. Sunscreen lip balms are chemically prepared to prevent worsening of the condition and to avoid flare-ups. Oral analgesics are also prescribed by the doctor to reduce pain. In order for the sore to heal fast, an over the counter drug Docosanol 10% cream is made available. Since cold sores are viral infections, topical antiviral medications were made for the public but with the physicians’ prescription. Zovirax 5% cream and Denavir 1% cream will help in the healing process of the cold sores. These remedies are also in pill form and are more potent when in this vehicle.

How to Prevent?

Prevention is truly better than cure. One should avoid cold sores as possible. A person should be entirely aware of the dangers of herpes virus. One should avoid kissing a person who is suspected to have cold sores. Observing is a vital tool for this. Knowing your partner is also a must. Avoid having sexual relations to person who have practice polygamy. You may never know that he or she has a cold sore. Do not have sex with a person who is known to have genital herpes, you may not just acquire it genitally but the possibility of oral transmission is there.

Triggering factors, as much as possible, should be avoided or controlled. Avoid too much sun exposure. Live a stress free life or just simply control stress and make it into a positive vibe. Practice strict adherence to washing of hands, by this you are one step away from acquiring and transmitting cold sores. A very significant action to prevent cold sores is making oneself healthy. Boosting your immune system would save or reduce you to risks of cold sore formation.

Home Remedies

Home interventions are quite a help in treating cold sores especially in conjunction with the medical treatment advised by the doctor. These home remedies can assist in the speeding up the healing process of cold sores.

Application of an ice pack onto the sore would numb and soothe the area, thus lowering the temperature of the infected region. This can also facilitate in inhibiting the viral infection. Tannic acid is found to have antiviral properties. Because of this, application of a tannic acid-containing material on the wound site is helpful. The use of tea bags especially the Early Grey would contribute to the healing process. We should avoid the worsening of the condition. In order to prevent drying up and resulting to cracking and bleeding of sores, application of a lip moisturizer is highly advised. This can be in the form of petroleum jelly or lip balms. A mint extract (Melissa officinalis) can be applied topically and can speed up the healing effect. Lemon balm has the same effect with mint. Cornstarch application is also a help in treating cold sores, just make sure you made a paste out of it before application. Resveratrol is a compound that we famously find in red wine. The use of a resveratrol cream has been found effective in fighting the virus. This should be applied 2 to 5 times a day in order to reduce the infection.

Taking supplements is recommended by doctors. Having sufficient vitamin C in the diet can reduce worsening of the sores and would also assist in the reduction of healing time. Vitamin E oil that is applied topically has proven its pain relief effect on cold sores. Intake of sufficient and controlled zinc has paved its way in the reduction in the duration of cold sores. Yogurt is found to have high lysine content. Lysine, as reported, has decreased the duration of cold sores. This is an essential amino acid that our body cannot make on its own that is why it is necessary that we get it from our food sources. Lysine has a component that can convert and produce our body’s defenses such as antibodies. Thus the resulting effect would be inhibiting the spread of the virus.


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    • profile image

      Loren 3 years ago

      I recently had an experience with someone and was left sick for a few days after. Literally couldn't move out of bed and had a canker sore. Finally saw my physician when I felt well enough and told me to look into some vitamins, foods and herbs.

      He gave me a list of vitamins and foods to make part of my daily diet. Once I started looking into these vitamins and herbs that boost your immune system, I found this product called instant immunity. Along with my proper diet and daily intact of that instant immunity supplement, I've been ok and have had one outbreak so far. For anyone that's in the same predicament, I would recommend that course of action as it's helped me get through this.

    • goinggorgeous profile image

      goinggorgeous 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Has anyone tried cavicide on their cold sores before? I was reading a site that talked about using it to kill off the virus with this stuff

      Sounds kinda painful