Cold Sore Remedies: Remove Ugliness of Cold Sores
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, can be very painful and unattractive if not treated with the many available cold sore remedies out there. Caused by the herpes simplex virus usually acquired in childhood, cold sores typically appear on gums, lips, or the roof of the mouth. They are characterized as small, fluid-filled blisters that are very sensitive, uncomfortable, and contagious.
If left untreated, it can take 7 to 14 days before a cold sore disappears completely. Medical treatments can be ineffective and expensive. Fortunately, there are many cold sore home remedies you can try to alleviate pain, and speed up the healing process.
13 Effective Cold Sore Remedies
Ice.Wrap an ice cube in a paper towel or cling wrap, and hold it against your cold sore for as long as possible. This will numb the area, and shorten the duration of the outbreak.
Lysine. Lysine is an amino acid used to produce protein that the body uses to make disease-fighting antibodies. Research has shown that lysine can be used to prevent the spread of the herpes simplex virus. To get lysine naturally, eat meat, dairy, wheat germ, and fish. To make sure your body is absorbing as much lysine as possible, avoid eating chocolate, almonds, and peanuts. They contain arginine, an amino acid that can inhibit the absorption of lysine. You can also take lysine supplements sold online and in local health stores. Taking 1,000 mg three times a day can help your cold sore heal faster. [Related article: Does Lysine Really Work for Cold Sores?]
Acidophilus. Acidophilus is available in capsule form. Take four capsules three to four times a day with a glass of milk. If you do this regimen when you begin to feel tingling that signifies the development of a cold sore, it's possible to prevent the outbreak.
Lemon. Lemon should only be used at the onset of the cold sore, before the actual lesion has appeared. After your cold sore already develops, it's best to avoid acidic fruits that can irritate it. As soon as you feel tingling, press a thin slice of lemon on the area.
Milk. Milk can speed up the healing process of a cold sore. Soak a cotton ball in cold milk, and apply it to your cold sore. The best time to use milk is when you first begin to feel a tingling sensation associated with cold sores. Treating cold sores before they develop can significantly shorten the duration of the outbreak and in some cases even prevent it.
Garlic. Garlic is well known for its bacteria-fighting properties, which is a great cold sore remedy. Research has shown that it is also effective against the herpes simplex virus. Eat raw garlic cloves, or get over-the-counter supplements that contain garlic. There are many different products sold in local health stores and online that you can choose from. If you want to eat garlic in its natural form, be careful. Raw garlic can cause nausea, so don't try to eat too much of it at once.
Peppermint oil. According to a study completed at the University of Heidelberg, peppermint oil can be used to treat the herpes simplex virus by penetrating the skin and attacking the infection. However, peppermint oil should not be ingested, so if your cold sore is located very close to your mouth or in your mouth, you should avoid using this method.
Aloe. Aloe should be used as soon as you begin to feel tingling in an area where cold sores are common such as your lips. Apply aloe gel or juice to the area to cool it down. When used after a cold sore has already appeared, aloe can be useful in preventing it from growing.
Licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which can kill the cold sore virus quickly or at least prevent it from growing. Look for products that list licorice mass as one of the ingredients. Most candy advertised as licorice contains anise flavoring, so make sure you check the ingredient list before making a purchase.
Resveratrol. Studies have shown that resveratrol can be effective in combating the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. Naturally found in red grapes, resveratrol is also available in cream form. According to research conducted by Northeastern Ohio University, applying resveratrol cream to a cold sore 2 to 5 times a day can stop the infection from growing. However, resveratrol is only effective if applied within 6 hours of the outbreak.
Tea. Put a tea bag in boiling water, and wait until it cools down. Then hold it up to the infected area for a few minutes. While tea won't make your cold sore disappear immediately, you should see it begin to fade within four or five days.
Zinc. Zinc can speed up the healing process when applied topically. You can also take zinc tablets, but do not take more than 15 mg for longer than a week without consulting your doctor. Zinc boosts the immune system, and makes it easier for your body to fight infections including the cold sore virus.
Painkillers. Use painkillers to numb the pain associated with cold sores. Over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce the discomfort in the area around the cold sore. Make sure you follow the directions printed on the bottle, and do not take more than the recommended amount.
In addition to trying these cold sore remedies, remember not to touch your cold sore. Picking at it will only worsen it and can spread the infection. Cold sores are very contagious so avoiding kissing or sharing things such as cups or towels with other people. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer on hand, and use it after you touch your cold sore to prevent the infection from spreading. After your cold sore clears up, remember to apply sunscreen on your lips before you go out to prevent a reoccurrence caused by the sun.