Cold sores are a common nuisance and a problem that affects many people. These sores are painful and unsightly but they are not dangerous. Cold sores or fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus and they are contagious through direct contact. People who frequently suffer from these sores are eager to find out efficient ways to get rid of them.
What are cold sores?
Cold sores start out as a feeling of tingling, itching or mild burning, possibly with redness in the area where the blisters will later appear. After some time, usually 10 to 15 hours, one or more blisters develop, and they are usually located on the lips, although they can appear inside the mouth too. The blisters fill with liquid that is usually clear at first and then may turn into pus. In the next stage the blisters will burst and the fluid will ooze out. After this, the yellowish scab may form and it will fall off in the following days.
Cold sores can be painful and they are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms, like general weakness and fatigue, low grade fever and swollen lymph glands.
How to cure a cold sore?
Since they are caused by viruses, cold sores do not respond to medication. There are, however, topical antiviral ointments that can provide some help against cold sores. Acyclovir is particularly effective.
On the other hand, natural remedies may be a better choice for the treatment of cold sores. For example, lysine, which is an amino acid, has been proven to be very helpful for cold sores. It can be taken in the form of supplements or through the diet, which should be rich in dairy products, meat and potatoes. It is also recommended to cut back on another amino acid, arginine, which is found in chocolate, grains and nuts.
Zinc paste is highly recommended for cold sores. It dries them up and promotes the healing of the lesion. Applying ice on the cold sore is also useful, because it numbs the area, reduces the pain and prevents the spreading of the virus.
A mixture of one teaspoon of aloe vera and a pinch of salt can be applied to the cold sore and left to dry. This is one of the best home remedies for cold sores.
Emu oil is also very effective. Unlike most other oils, this oil penetrates the deeper layers of the skin and, thanks to its antiseptic properties, prevents the further growth of the virus. Vitamin E is also highly recommended.
Since the body fights the virus on its own, it is recommended to help it by boosting the immune system. This can be done by increasing the intake of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, B complex vitamins and zinc, and by avoiding stressful situations.