Cold sores or fever blisters are small sores or lesions developed on the lips, around the mouth or any other part of the face. They look like blisters and are absolutely painful. Although the name is ‘cold sore’, these fluid-filled wounds are in fact the results of viral infections. This article will talk about the potential causes of cold sores and some useful remedies for them:
Potential Causes of Cold Sore
Cold sores are basically the results of a certain infection, which is caused by HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus – type 1). A rare version of this condition caused by HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus – type 2) can also be found in some people. In most of the cases, oozing blisters are the symptoms of contagious cold sores. But you may get the virus transmitted to your body even when there is no presence of blisters.
There may be a number of ways, such as kissing, having oral sex, or sharing utensils, toiletries, etc. (with a person who has been suffering from it), through which HSV strains are spread. At first, they enter the nerve cells buried under the skin and remain inactive there for some time. But as soon as our body gets exposed to some triggers, they become activated and give us cold sore outbreaks.
Usually, cold sore triggers are not same for all. It is important to discover what is giving you such ugly blisters, before you get ready to take on them. So, let’s know about the factors that contribute to it. Some of the most common triggers of cold sores are:
- Damage caused by an injury to the old or freshly developed blister
- Exposure to intense sunlight
- Contact with dry winter wind
- Extreme mental stress, tension or anxiety
- Too much fatigue caused by weak immune system
- Viral fever or any sort of infection
- Depression or deep sadness
- Hormonal imbalances experienced during menstrual cycle
- Dental procedures that affect the troubled areas
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It has also been seen that cold sore can relapse at the same place or a different part of the body. In fact, people with relatively weak immune system are more prone to develop it again and again. There are also certain risk factors, which increases the chance of cold sore complications. These include:
- AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) treatment
- Cancer treatment (especially chemotherapy)
- Excess consumption of alcohol
- Taking steroidal medicines
- Taking anti-rejection medicines (during organ transplants)
- Skin issues like eczema
- Severe burns
Useful Remedies for Cold Sore
To be honest, cold sore doesn’t have a proper cure. All you can do is to take some preventive measures in order to avoid the outbreaks or use some home remedies to ease discomfort as well as fade away the marks. Let us take a look at some of the most effective home remedies for cold sores:
- Pure Vanilla Extract
Dip a cotton swab in some pure and organic vanilla extract and dab the troubled are with for a couple of minutes. Practice it at least 4 times a day to get visible results. Being alcohol-based, it will prevent the viruses from thriving and lessen the severity of the blister significantly.
Take a tablespoon of licorice root powder and mix it with 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly or half teaspoon of plain water. Cover the sore with this smooth paste and leave overnight. The glycyrhizic acid present in licorice root is known to combat virus cells or destroy them successfully, thereby making the blisters disappear.
- Whole Milk
Saturate a cotton swab in 2 tablespoons of cold whole milk and use it as a compress on the affected area. After 5 minutes, dab the milk off carefully with a soft damp towel and apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly. The immunoglobulins present in milk work as antibodies, while the l-lysine content prevent the harmful effects of arginine in our body. As a result, the outbreaks start to heal efficiently.
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- Hydrogen Peroxide
Soak a cotton swab in a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and hold it on your sore for 5 minutes. Dab it around the wound for a few seconds and then rinse off with fresh plain water. It acts as a typical disinfectant and reduces the severity of the blister to a great extent.
- Peppermint Oil
Dilute 2 tablespoons of peppermint oil by adding a few drops of pure water to it. Apply it to the sore and let it sink into the skin completely. Practice it twice every day. The antiviral properties of peppermint will kill the herpes viruses outside your skin cells and stop the sore from spreading.
- Echinacea Tea
Prepare a cup of fresh Echinacea tea by allowing a tea bag to steep in boiling water for 10 minutes or so. Drink it every day to get rid of cold sores. It will strengthen your immune system and help your body fight against the attacks of herpes virus.
If these home remedies do not work, you should seek the help of a doctor in curing your cold sores. However, in most of the cases, these ugly blisters go away within 7 to 14 days.