Cold sores, also known as fever blisters are commonly caused by Type 1 herpes simplex virus that is typically acquired during childhood years through contacts with infected saliva. This Type 1 virus is actually thought to stay dormant in particular nerve cells of the human body until this is activated by anxiety, stress, and cold and excessive sun exposure.
Cold sores cause swelling and sores near the nose or mouth or in the external part of the lips, and can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days. The type 2 herpes simplex virus on the other hand gets transmitted via sexual contacts, and causes blisters in the genital area.
Though individuals use the words canker sore and cold sore interchangeably, these are completely different. Unlike the cold sores, the canker sores are said to be bacterial infections within the mouth that are usually characterized by round, white and small areas surrounded by sharp red halo. Cold sores are known to be highly contagious while the canker sores are not. Cold sores can be spread through personal and close contacts such as kissing or any oral contact.
Effective Ways to Treat Cold Sores at Home
You cannot cure cold sores completely, they will unfortunately keep on coming back. However, you no longer have to suffer in silence with cold sores anymore. There are home remedies that you can use to ease your suffering and discomfort and to speed up the healing process. The following are effective ways on how to treat cold sores at home:
Treat Cold Sores through Diet
Eating foods rich in lysine is an effective way of preventing and treating cold sores because this blocks arginine (that promotes the growth and replication of the virus). Foods rich in lysine that must be included in your meals at home are meat, fish, beans, sprouts and dairy products. Avoid foods that are rich with arginine. Highest concentration or arginine is usually found in seeds, whole grains, chocolates and nuts.
You can also treat cold sore at home by getting rid of acidic foods because viruses can thrive on acidic environments so it is better to stay away from these foods. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for these helps in improving the immune system and fighting off the viruses. Best choices for these foods are cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onion, broccoli and more.
Treat Cold Sore at Home Using Household Items
As soon as you feel that cold sore is forming, you can put ice on the sore. Doing this application on regular basis can help treat cold sore. Since herpes virus thrive in warm and moist environment, cooling the sores prevents them from getting bigger and speeds up the healing process. Applying lemon extract or lemon balm directly on the sore also helps in treating cold sore. All you have to do is soak cotton balls on lemon balm then dab it to the cold sore twice or thrice a day.
Another possible home remedy for cold sores is preparing a milk, salt and lemon juice treatment. You need to add some milk and lemon juice to the salt. The acid found in lemon juice is shielded by the proteins in milk so it will not sting too much. Roll this mixture into the cotton ball, then dab on the cold sore at least once per day. After the application, you can also apply some aloe vera to the cold sore. Applying hot tea bags to soothe cold sores is a cheap method that many swear by. Using topical oil like Melissa oil or lavender oil is another suggested home treatment. These oils help in speeding up the cold sores healing process.
Use Herbal Remedies
You can take one teaspoon of Echinacea root three times per day. Just swish this around the mouth for about two to three minutes and then swallow. Applying chamomile tincture on the sore a few times daily can also help treat your cold sore. Cold sore sufferers can also drink some chamomile tea and allow this hot liquid to linger in the sore. The chamomile contains a substance called Bisabol that helps in healing the sores in mucous membranes.
Other Solutions you can try at Home
There are other solutions or ways on how to treat cold sore at home. These are as follows:
Avoid Touching Your Cold Sores
Aside from aggravating your cold sore, touching this can increase the possibility of spreading the viruses through your fingers. Touching the sore also makes it easy to spread virus accidentally because of other contacts. Keep in mind that viruses can infect skin cells especially when there is a break in the skin. Avoid contact with the sore as much as possible to avoid complications and spread of virus.
Wash your Hands Frequently
Washing your hands more often is one simple yet effective way to prevent cold sore at home. Even when carefully trying not to touch the sores, individuals usually poke them without knowing or thinking. Wash your hands regularly, especially if you have touched cold sores or the areas around your mouth and your lips.
Always Store Additional Toothbrushes
The virus causing cold sores thrives on surfaces like toothbrushes. At home, you can do your part in preventing or treating cold sore by always storing additional toothbrushes. To avoid the potential spread of cold sores, begin using a new toothbrush as soon as you notice symptoms that are progressing on. As further safety measure, you need to make sure that your toothbrush does not come in contact with toothpaste tube’s opening when you are applying it.
These are just few of the many ways on how to treat cold sore at home, and everybody finds slightly different combinations of treatments work for them. There are new treatments coming out daily as well, so fret not there is a treatment out there to suit everyone. Some will help get rid of a cold sore on your lips, or around your mouth overnight, others will take a few days to have effect – test and see what works for you!