- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Home Remedies Treating Cold Sores
The medical condition ‘cold sores’ has a general – or rather interesting – name, in which when you squeeze out information from it, the attempt could lead to no avail. What is this exactly, and what are some nice-to-know details behind this disease?
Does the Word ‘Cold’ Have Something to Do with the Disease?
The answer is negative. It does not have anything to do with the condition. The causative agent of the disease is a virus known as the herpes simplex. There are two very famous strains of the virus: HSV 1 and HSV 2. While the first usually manifests in the oral and buccal cavities, the second is normally seen in or around the genital area. Though these viruses have their own specific target areas of the body, an HSV 1 infection in the mouth may be transferred to the genital due to unsafe sex practices.
Is This Common or Rare?
Surprisingly, it is common though it differs from country to country. Some might wonder why they do not know many published cases about it. It is probably because the disease does not readily develop into a break out. There are times that the body is still able to suppress the virus; hence, the manifestation is controlled – the signs and symptoms are not perceived. People who do not engage themselves in active, unsafe and unclean sexual activities must not worry that they will contract the disease since the primary mode of transmission is related to sexual practices.
Can It Spread throughout the Body?
The answer depends hugely on the person who has it. As aforementioned, if one contracts the disease, the manifestations are usually predictable. The mouth or the genitals would either be infected. Again, as mentioned, they can be transferred from the mouth to the genitals and the other way around. Because this is a possibility, spreading throughout the body is also possible. The only reason why the infection is commonly seen in those two areas is that the moisture aids the development of the disease. But it does not mean that all the body parts covered with skin are safe from the virus. Again, they can be transferred through direct contact. The advice of medical experts is elementary: one, never touch the affected areas during an outbreak. Moreover, avoid the occurrence of the outbreak by not subjecting yourself to the precipitating factors such as the extreme of temperatures. Two, basically, maintain a good hygiene.
Cold Sore Myths
Herpes, Labialis, and fever blisters, more commonly known as cold sores, are either small blisters or sores on or around the mouth area. It usually takes about two to three weeks for the sores to heal, but the virus will remain dormant on the facial nerves. Most people have cold sores, whether active or dormant.
In a study conducted in America between 1999 and 2004, 57.7% of the subjects tested showed that by the age of 50, 80% of them had the virus. While most people experience a cold sore maybe once or twice a year, some may experience it more frequently, like six or more times a year.
Causes of cold sores
The cause of a cold sore can come from many different sources such as a fever, dehydration or even stress. Though cold sores most commonly occur around the mouth area, it can be passed on to places such as the eyes or fingers. This is known as autoinoculation. This occurs when touching or rubbing the infected area and then touching another area of the body, thus spreading the virus.
Though cold sores are common, there are still many misconceptions and myths surrounding them.
Here are a few examples:
“Cold sores only occur when you have a cold”
It is true that the common cold can be a trigger to bring out a cold sore, but it is only one of many triggers. Other triggers can be sun exposure, fatigue and menstruation.
“The cold sore cannot spread beyond the mouth area”
The virus can easily spread to another part of the body if the affected area is touched then another part of the body is touched without washing. Make sure you wash your hands and avoid contact with the affected area.
“Ice can help the cold sore heal faster”
Though ice can reduce the redness or swelling and provide momentary relief, it will not speed up the healing time.
“Tea bags can help heal cold sores”
You can use the tea bag to make a cuppa; however, it has no healing value.
“There’s nothing you can do but wait until it goes away” The common life cycle of a cold sore is about 1 to 2 weeks. However, there are several over the counter treatments that can speed up the healing process.
Cold sore prevention
There are simple steps you could follow to prevent cold sores from starting or spreading to other areas. Washing your hands regularly and not sharing things that come into contact with your mouth are two. You could also buy lotions and creams to target the cold sores. Even though there are many ways to treat or prevent them, there is still no cure for this form of herpes at present.
Have you tried these home remedies for cold sores?
Treating Your Cold Sore
At the first instance, a slight burning feeling is sensed with a little itchiness near the lips or nose. Try to feel if there is a feeling of hardness on that area. As this can be an outbreak better to take an immediate action to treat it. Initially, isolate yourself and separate your eating utensils to prevent its spread. Keep your hands clean all the time especially right after touching your face since it is highly contagious.
The Easy Way Out
Although the body can heal itself out of cold sore without any remedy, it will take some time. The natural duration of cold sore is about 3 to 4 weeks in the absence of any bacterial infection. Otherwise, it will take more than that. To ease the agony and embarrassment in front of clients or colleagues the process of healing needs to be hastened. Do away from crashing or pressing the sore for it will slow down the healing. Since cold sore is very contagious never touch the eye area because it may spread there and may cause blindness. If an eye irritation is determined immediately consult a doctor.
As soon as a symptom is felt apply a cold compress in the area because the coldness can kill the virus. Wrap an ice in a towel or ice bag then gently dub the itchy area. Noticing a cold sore early will hamper its spread. Antiviral medications are also given to patients to speed up the treatment and decrease its severity. If some children caught fever with cold sore they are given medications except for aspirin because of Reye’s Syndrome. It is necessary to monitor the fever of children at this stage.
There are available over the counter pain relievers and cold sore creams. Other external applications for the sore include, garlic juice, aloe vera extract, lemon balm or Melissa oil, lavender oil, and petroleum jelly. High in lysine food like meat and other dairy products are advisable in this period since it has the ability to prevent the virus from cloning. Foods to avoid are those that are high in arginine like nuts, grains, seeds and chocolates.
Avoid eating acidic food like citrus, tomatoes, or any carbonated drinks in this stage because herpes virus likes acidic environment. Cleaning the sores continuously with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol will help hasten the healing.