Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Generally signs and symptoms of cold sores are seen after twenty days of exposure to the virus. Cold sores begin with tingling near the mouth, followed by a cluster of small, painful blisters; there may be fever, sore throat, or swollen lymph glands. These sores burst and crust over, but normally heal within about 10 days. Triggers such as colds and flu, fatigue, stress, menstruation, cold, wind, or strong sunshine can reactivate the virus, causing another cold sore.
Cold Sore Symptoms
- An itchy, tingling sensation.
- Small blisters around or on the lips, inside the mouth, around the nose, and sometimes elsewhere on the face
- Blisters filled with yellow liquid that feel hot and itchy and eventually burst.
- Small blisters which burst, leaves shallow open sores that will ooze fluid and then crust over.
- Tenderness and pain in the affected area.
- Some people also experience-Fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches.
Home Remedies for Cold Sores
- Ice pack: As soon as you notice tingling, apply a small ice pack to the area, for about 5-10 minutes every half hour.
- Tea tree oil: Apply tea tree oil onto a cold sore, which may help the blisters dry out and heal more quickly.
- Cold pack: Place a cool, wet towel on the sores three times a day for 20 minutes each time to help reduce redness and swelling.
- Tea bag: Apply a tea bag for few minutes on the blisters, repeat this every hour.
- Aloe vera: Gently rub aloe vera gel on the sores. The regular application of aloe vera may decrease the formation of specific chemicals in the blood and increases the circulation which helps it to heal.
- Licorice: Take licorice lozenge several times a day. It has an antiviral properties.
- Garlic: Take garlic capsules or tinctures or just eating more garlic are effective in preventing outbreaks.
- Lemon balm: Apply lemon balm cream or ointment to the lip sores two or three times a day. It has an antiviral properties. The cream has also been found to reduce the healing time.
Do’s for Cold Sores
- Wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading the virus.
- Eat lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the affected area to prevent cracking or bleeding.
- If stress or fatigue are triggers, get plenty of sleep, and try breathing
Don’ts for Cold Sores
- Don’t pick or squeeze sores.
- Avoid close contact and don’t share towels, cups, and glasses.
- Avoiding prolonged exposure of your lips to sunlight.
- Avoid tea, and coffee.
- Have frequent cold sores.
- Sore is getting worse, or is not getting better after about 10 days despite treatment.