Finding painful, bubble-like, fluid-filled red blisters in the region of the nose, lips and outer edges of the mouth can be unsettling, because you know these aren’t your everyday pimples. What may actually come as a shocker is these blisters, called cold sores, are caused by the most contagious strain of herpes, which attacks the body when it’s at its weakest!
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Causes of cold sores
Cold or flue, fevers, stress, fatigue, injury to the lips, menstruation or even deficiency of calcium can weaken the body’s immune system and make it vulnerable to the attack of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. These conditions actually cause a reactivation of the virus already living in the body.
Preventing cold sores
To avoid getting saddled with cold sores, it’s best to adhere to certain preventive measures. These include:
a. Avoid acidic or salty foods and foods rich in arginine, like chocolate, peanuts and other nuts, grains, peas, seeds, oatmeal and whole-wheat products. Also, limit your coffee.
b. Never use the same cups, plates, towels, razors, utensils and the like, with those suffering from cold sores. Also avoid skin-to-skin contact with them.
c. Kissing and having sex with someone with cold sores or genital herpes will make you vulnerable to it.
d. Dab your lips and other susceptible areas with a sunscreen of at least 15 SPF to prevent the occurrence of cold sores.
e. If you do get it, don’t touch the affected part and, if you do happen to touch it, wash your hands thoroughly. Also, replace your toothbrush after an attack.
Home remedies for cold sore
Cold sores usually remain for 10 to 14 days, but if they remain for more than two weeks or occur frequently, your condition will require medical attention. Although, several over-the-counter cold sore medication are available, all have side effects. However, if you want to avoid these side effects, there is no better way than to try out the home remedies for cold sores. Let’s see what these are:
Applying ice to the affected area will check further development of cold sores.
b. Tea bags:
An effective remedy is to apply tea bags to the affected area. This facilitates the tannic acid in the tea to act against the virus and prevent its further development. Another effective method is to press a warm tea bag on the cold sore. A five-day application will make the sores disappear.
c. Coconut oil concoction:
Coconut oil mixed with Dettol and Carbolic acid can be used topically to get rid of cold sores. This concoction can be bottled and kept for years.
d. Witch hazel:
The astringent contained in witch hazel is effective against cold sores.
e. Common salt:
If powered common salt is applied to the affected area by a moistened index finger, it’ll make cold sores disappear in two to three days.
g. Aloe vera:
Rubbing aloe juice or aloe gel on cold sores is effective in curing cold sores.
Herbs like herbal sage, tea tree oil and the herbal sedative violet have been used as treatments for cold sores. Sage leaf tea with a small ginger root piece or ginger powder is effective against this condition.
i. Lemon balm extract:
This may reduce cold sore symptoms and speed up the healing.