Cold Sores and Its Treatment

Cold sores are a common viral infection that causes painful blisters on the lips, nose, and cheeks. They can be caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2. Cold sores usually appear in clusters of three to five blisters around the mouth.

Did you know that 90% of the population receives at least one cold sore in their lifetime, and 40% of American adults experience cold sores regularly? Beginning as a blister and ultimately developing a crust, they may be painful, unpleasant, and plain unsightly. Unfortunately, cold sores are misdiagnosed as canker sores, particularly in youngsters. On the other hand, Canker sores exclusively affect the mucous membrane and never appear on the exterior of the mouth.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), producing a single cold sore or a cluster of cold sores. A cold sore is highly infectious until it has scabbed or crusted, and it may even spread to other areas of the body, such as the eyes and genitals — though most cold sores are nongenital.

Antiviral creams and oral medicines are the most famous traditional therapies for cold sores. They may shorten the length of cold sores by a few days but aren’t always practical. There are, however, natural cold sore treatments that are safe, cheap, and effective in strengthening the immune system, decreasing the length and frequency of cold sores, and alleviating pain and swelling.

Cold Sores and How To Treat Them

The herpes simplex virus causes severe cold sores, often known as fever blisters. They may appear anywhere on the body, but the exterior of the mouth, lips, cheeks, nose, and fingers are the most frequent spots.

A cold sore resembles a blister and lasts for seven to ten days, during which it is infectious. Then, it cracks and bleeds over time, forming a yellow scab with new skin developing beneath.

Although a cold sore infection is usually not dangerous, it may be a severe problem for individuals who have weakened immune systems due to illnesses or medicines. The herpes virus persists after a cold sore crust over and heals, and it may trigger subsequent outbreaks in the same region of the mouth or face.

It’s called autoinoculation when cold sores spread, and these simplex infections may cause a lesion to develop as they spread.

According to Nemours’ TeensHealth, there are many ways to characterize herpes simplex cold sores:

  • Herpes labialis is a kind of herpes that affects the labi
  • Infections caused by the simplex virus
  • Stomatitis caused by herpes
  • Type 1 HSV
  • HSV cold sores

13 Homeopathic Cold Sore Treatments

1. Consume Immune-Supporting Foods

People with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to cold sores; therefore, consuming foods that strengthen the immune system may benefit.

Yogurt, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, sauerkraut, and natto are all-natural immune system boosters. Vegetables are also high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that may aid in infection resistance. To keep cold sores at bay, try this Immune-Boosting Juice Recipe.

2. Take a vitamin E supplement

Vitamin E calms the skin and may aid in relieving cold, sore pain, and discomfort. It contains antioxidant qualities and the ability to heal damaged skin and decrease inflammation.

Vitamin E supplements are available, or you may eat vitamin E-rich foods like almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, sunflower seeds, and olive oil to increase your levels.

3. Take a vitamin C supplement

Vitamin C helps your body fight itself against intruders by increasing the number of white blood cells. So to improve immunity and promote skin health — and, of course, to cure cold sores — take a vitamin C pill.

These excellent vitamin C sources are oranges, red peppers, green peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit, and kiwi.

4. Increase Your Zinc Consumption

Zinc is a trace mineral necessary for good health, reducing inflammation, and boosting immunity. It comes in various forms, including tablets, syrups, gels, and capsules. Zinc may be found in zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, or zinc acetate in these supplements.

Zinc oxide/glycine cream is an excellent therapy for an oral herpes infection, according to research published in Alternative Therapies for Health and Medicine. Participants who started using a zinc oxide/glycine cream within 24 hours of developing signs and symptoms of a cold sore had cold sore lesions that lasted substantially less time than those who used a placebo cream.

Certain foods, such as grass-fed beef, chickpeas, cashews, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, chicken, turkey, eggs, salmon, and mushrooms, may help you reap these zinc advantages and prevent zinc deficiency, raising the risk of cold sores.

5. Consume L-lysine

L-lysine is an amino acid that, when consumed or applied directly to the skin, acts as a natural herpes cure. It works by halting the spread of the herpes virus. Take 1,000 mg three times a day, and consume L-lysine-rich foods, including beans, fish, turkey, chicken, and vegetables.

According to many double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, L-lysine seems to be a beneficial drug for reducing the incidence, severity, and healing time of recurrent herpes simplex virus infection.

6. Make use of sunscreen

Because direct sunlight or sunburns may provoke an attack, wearing sunscreen or avoiding prolonged sun exposure will help you decrease the frequency of cold sore recurrences. Apply sunscreen to your lips throughout the day, which you may effortlessly accomplish using an SPF lip balm. If you have access to lemon balm, I recommend using it.

Also, while choosing a sunscreen, choose one with 100 percent natural and organic. Because most sunscreens are poisonous, this may be tough, so avoid the popular ones that do more damage than good.

7. Apply Aloe Vera Gel to the affected area

Cold sores and other skin problems are treated using aloe vera gel. It is high in antioxidant vitamins, enzymes, minerals, fatty acids, and hormones, which aid in healing and avoiding illness. Apply aloe vera gel to a cold sore to relieve pain and hasten recovery throughout the day.

8. Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil’s antiviral properties make it an excellent treatment for cold sores. Peppermint oil’s inhibitory efficacy against HSV-1 and HSV-2 was investigated in a 2013 research published in Phytomedicine. According to the researchers, Peppermint oil was shown to have significant levels of virucidal action against both HSV-1 and HSV-2.

After three hours of incubation with peppermint oil, the antiviral activity of the herpes simplex virus was about 99 percent. The oil appeared to be more helpful in the early phases of symptoms.

9. Use Vanilla Extract or Oil.

Apply vanilla oil or vanilla extract to the affected region as soon as you feel tingling. Do this four times daily until the cold sore heals by soaking a cotton ball in vanilla essence and holding it in place for one to two minutes. The anti-inflammatory properties aid in healing the cold sore and the reduction of discomfort. Vanilla oil also aids in the fight against infection and hastens the healing process.

The best grade vanilla extract is vanilla Co2 total extract. However, it may be expensive; therefore, it would suffice to utilize vanilla extract or create a vanilla oil infusion by soaking vanilla beans in a carrier oil or jar of alcohol.

10. Echinacea Tea 

Echinacea is particularly beneficial to individuals who have a compromised immune system. It’s most frequently used for individuals seeking to get rid of a cold. Still, it’s also a potent immune system stimulant with significant therapeutic benefit, even when fighting viruses like herpes simplex. In addition, Echinacea tea is a simple method to strengthen your immune system, decrease inflammation, and relieve discomfort.

11. Make use of Tea Tree Oil

In small trials, employing a tea tree oil ointment resulted in minor benefits. Tea tree oil, in gel form, may be used as soon as you feel the tingling of a cold sore to see whether it helps you – the sooner you use it, the more noticeable the benefits will be.

12. Use hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide may help with cold sores by drying and cleansing the afflicted area. Peroxide is believed to have antiseptic properties and may destroy the HSV virus, which is especially susceptible to its effects.

13. Apply Lemon Balm on your skin

This natural treatment substantially kills the herpes virus that causes cold sores. According to the study, the intervals between herpes outbreaks grow longer, the healing time shortens, and the symptoms, such as stinging and burning, seem to diminish when dabbing on lemon balm extract in cream form.

Interestingly, because lemon balm does this, there is no danger of the herpes virus developing resistance with repeated usage. Using lemon balm essential oil as an ointment seems to have similar effects.

Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores

Cold sores are often mistaken with canker sores, although they are pretty distinct, despite their similar appearances. So how to tell the difference between a cold sore and a canker sore?

Cold Sores

  • Usually at the border of the lips, on the outside of the mouth.
  • Until they crust over and heal fully, they’re infectious.
  • Red blisters develop till they burst, leak, and create a crust.
  • In most cases, it takes 10 days for the wound to heal.
  • Herpes simplex virus is to blame.
  • Sunlight and stress may also cause it.

Canker Sores

  • Soft tissues within the cheeks or lips, below the tongue, or at the base of the gums may develop.
  • Are circular with a red border and a white or yellow center.
  • It takes one to two weeks for the wound to heal in most cases.
  • Immune-suppressing viruses cause autoimmune diseases and auto-inflammatory disorders.
  • An unintentional cheek bite, food sensitivity, dental work-related damage, hormonal fluctuations, germs, and stress may all cause it.

Symptoms of a Cold Sore

A cold sore typically goes through many phases, including:

1. Itching and Burning

A tingling, stinging, or burning feeling around the lips may occur a day or two before a blister develops. It is the initial symptom of a growing cold sore, which usually starts with a tingling.

2. Blemishes

A blister, a tiny fluid-filled lump on the boundary of the lips and skin, develops within 24–48 hours.

3. Scabbing and Oozing

The blister or blisters will eventually break apart and leak fluid, which may be very painful. It will then dry and crust over, forming a scab to protect the new skin underneath.

Every cold sore is unique, and first-time cold sores are often more severe than recurrent ones. Furthermore, first-time cold sores may take longer to recover, taking two to four weeks to cure fully. In addition, a headache, aching gums, sore throat, muscular pains, fever, nausea, vomiting, and enlarged lymph nodes may occur during an epidemic.

It’s a good idea to see your doctor if a cold sore lasts more than a week and shows no symptoms of rupture or crusting. If a sore makes it difficult to speak or swallow, you should see your dentist or physician if you develop a fever or have a second breakout of blisters.

What Are the Causes of Cold Sores?

What are the illnesses that cause cold sores? The herpes simplex virus causes a cold sore, an infection that may result in a single cold sore or a cluster of cold sores. Herpes simplex virus type 1 causes fever blisters, which may be transmitted by kissing and sharing face towels, glasses, spoons, or forks while the sore is present.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 produces sores in the genital region and is transmitted via sexual contact or when a woman with genital herpes delivers her baby vaginally. Mouth sores are a rare symptom of type 2 herpes, while lesions around the vaginal and penis are more frequent.

During oral intercourse, a person with a cold sore (caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1) may transmit the infection and cause genital sores. However, it isn’t simply confined to the mouth and lips. Although this is uncommon, HSV may travel to other parts of the body and infect them, such as the eyes or the brain.

The cold sore usually develops approximately a week after a person is exposed to HSV-1, and the virus may be reactivated later in life, producing additional cold sore outbreaks. HSV-1 may be triggered after a period of stress or sickness, poor nutrition, an upper respiratory infection, menstruation, or even exposure to sunshine. In addition, the virus may return after dental treatments that extend the lip.

Do not kiss someone with a chilly core to avoid the transmission of herpes simplex. Sunscreen on the lips may also help prevent cold sores caused by exposure to the sun.

If you already have a cold sore, keep it clean and leave it alone to avoid spreading the illness. Avoid touching the sore or picking at the crust. While you have a blister, avoid kissing anybody and don’t share utensils, cups, or towels that come into touch with your mouth.

Treatment for Cold Sores in the Past

Acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir are the most frequently recommended medicines for treating cold sore, pain, and discomfort (Valtrex). These antiviral medications do not treat the infection and do not assist after the blister develops. Therefore, they must be administered as soon as you see a cold sore developing to be successful.

The efficacy of oral antiviral medicine in treating cold sores has been studied in many trials. The drug must be given as soon as symptoms occur to be effective. However, according to most studies, antiviral medicines decrease symptoms by one or two days, mainly when used at larger dosages.

Acyclovir had no impact on the length of discomfort or the time it took to recover in 149 patients who took 200 mg five times daily for five days. However, after consuming 400 mg five times daily for five days, 174 individuals reported a decrease in the duration of their symptoms in another research.

Headache and nausea are the most often reported adverse effects of oral antiviral medicines, and they vary depending on the dosage and length of therapy.

Cold sores are also treated using anesthetic and antiviral lotions, such as Abreva. Seven patients tried lidocaine and prilocaine cream in a short, randomized, controlled trial, and this therapy decreased the mean duration of cold sore symptoms. Antiviral lotions such as acyclovir and penciclovir have also been tested for effectiveness. Both creams reduced the length of hard, painful discomfort and the time it took to recover, although both, particularly penciclovir, had to be used many times during the day.

Last Thoughts

  • Ninety percent of people experience at least one cold sore in their lives, and forty percent of adults in the United States suffer cold sores regularly.
  • Cold sores are often misdiagnosed as canker sores, particularly in youngsters. On the other hand, Canker sores exclusively affect the mucous membrane and never appear on the exterior of the mouth.
  • The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores.
  • It’s highly infectious until herpes cold sore scabs or crusts.
  • Itching and burning, blisters, oozing, and scabbing are all signs of a cold sore.
  • Eat immune-boosting meals, take vitamin E and C supplements, increase zinc consumption, take L-lysine, use sunscreen, apply aloe vera gel, peppermint essential oil, vanilla oil or extract, drink echinacea tea, obtain a new toothbrush, avoid touching the outbreak, and freeze it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What gets rid of cold sores overnight?

It is best to try and avoid getting cold sores in the first place. However, if you do get a cold sore, then many treatment options exist. Antihistamines can help with the itching and swelling associated with cold sores. For more severe cases of cold sores, prescription medications are available that can be used to treat the condition.

What kills cold sores naturally?

The best way to get rid of cold sores is by using a natural remedy. For example, you can try using tea tree oil, which has been used to treat cold sores for years.


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