Fever blisters have been around for quite some time – thousands of years, in fact. During ancient Roman days, Emperor Tiberius actually banned residents from kissing at public get-togethers because of an outbreak of fever blisters. In the United States, nearly 100 million cases reoccur on a yearly basis. Learning how to ease the symptoms of this common complaint and becoming familiar with home remedies for fever blisters can reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
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What are Fever Blisters?
A fever blister is a small sore that develops on the face or in the mouth, causing pain and other symptoms before it bursts open and crusts over during the healing process. If you are under the assumption that the lips are the only location that fever blisters emerge, think again. Common sites include the chin, cheeks and even in the nostrils. Blisters may even appear on the gums or the roof of the mouth (called the palate).
Causes and Symptoms
You can thank the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) for your fever blisters, as the virus lies dormant in the body until outside factors encourages it to become active. Stress, sunburn, and a fever stemming from an infectious disease (like a cold) are typical culprits for the condition. The infection that causes a fever blister follows the common course of the herpes simplex virus, where the first outbreak is more painful and lasts longer than infections that follow. Thankfully, after the age of 35, recurrences are less common. Triggers that can cause a fever blister include:
• Injury or damage to the lips or mouth
• Hormonal changes
• Dental treatments
• Cosmetic surgery
• Overall tiredness and fatigue
Typical symptoms of a fever blister include pain, tingling skin, itching, and a burning sensation. In children, they experience pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and the occasional swallowing difficulties. Herpes infections often strikes children between 6 months and three years of age with symptoms usually lasting for about a week – often resolving on their own. Unfortunately, once you contract the herpes simplex virus, it will linger in certain cells of the body and can reactivate at the drop of a dime.
Fever blisters most often appear on the border of the lip and develop three to five vesicles that will grow, ulcerate, and then crust over. The worst of symptoms are seen 8 hours after an outbreak. The majority of people battling fever blisters will experience two outbreaks per year with 5% to 10% of cases facing more than six outbreaks on a yearly basis .
Fever Blister Home Remedies
Don’t forget that fever blisters are contagious and easily spread through skin-to-skin contact, direct contact with infected saliva, or droplets found in breath. To ease the irritating symptoms and speed up the healing process, consider the following home remedies for fever blisters that can also stop the spread of this pesky condition:
a) White Vinegar:
To slow down the commotion that fever blisters cause, saturate a cotton ball with white vinegar. Dab on to reduce swelling and enjoy pain relief.
For centuries, honey has been hailed as an antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic wonder. Directly apply it to a fever blister to assist the healing process.
c) Tea Bag:
Set a plain tea bag in boiling water, allowing it to cool it before applying to your fever blister. Some individuals have reported their blister disappearing within a few days.
Moisten your index finger before dabbing in table salt. Press your finger to the fever blister for a minute twice a day for 2 to 3 days.
Stop the cracking and bleeding of fever blisters by applying Vaseline to moisturize and soften blisters.
Apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or more on the lips to prevent a recurrence of fever blisters associated with sunburn.
g) Sage Tea and Ginger:
Some people have found fever blister relief by drinking several cups of sage tea with an added dash of powdered ginger.
h) Water-Based Popsicles:
The pain of fever blisters can cause children to become dehydrated. To soothe this symptom, deliver hydration and pain relief with water-based Popsicles.
i) Ice Cube:
For ten minutes, run an ice cube on a fever blister every hour at the onset of the sore. This practice may prevent the spread of the virus to surrounding skin.
Add water to cornstarch to create a paste that treats affected areas.
Some people swear that aromatherapy proves effective when treating fever blisters. Typical options to consider include the following essential oils: rose, tea tree, geranium, lemon balm, and bergamot.
Aloe has a reputation of jumpstarting the healing process and preventing the growth of sores. Just when you experience the tingling, burning or itching sensation of an incoming fever blister, rub juice from an aloe plant on the affected area. Dabbing aloe gel is also effective.