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Friday, November 15, 2013

HOME REMEDIES FOR COLD SORES

Cold sores, also referred to as fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 HSV-1, which is related to but different from the virus that causes genital herpes. Cold sores first appear 3 to 10 days after exposure to the virus and last up to 5 weeks.

Cold sores are often mistaken for canker sores – a non contagious mouth ulcer. Cold sores mainly occur on the skin adjacent to mouth, mostly on the lips. Sometimes they may occur on chin, nostrils, fingers or genitals. The medical term for cold sores is recurrent herpes labialis.

The virus then remains permanently in the body, and moves into the nervous system close to the lips. It will lie dormant there until triggered by fever, a cold, or other viral infection, exposure to sun and wind, stress, menstruation, high levels of amino acid arginine, or depression of the immune system.

These cold sores are very contagious and very common. Studies have shown that between 30 and 60 percent of children carry the virus by the age of ten.It should be pointed out that herpes is highly contagious and the infection can easily be passed on through direct contact. Sexual contact with an infected individual poses the highest risk of contagion, including via oral sex.

There are said to be six stages of the development of the average cold sore. First comes the prodrome, or stage one. In this first stage, no sore is visible but there is a feeling itchiness around the area. In stage two, swelling may start and the area may turn red. Stage three brings with it the first signs of blister or blisters. Stage four is the most painful and generally comes on the fourth day. A soft crust or ulcer forms, and from this the cold sore moves into stage five when a hard crust forms over the ulcer. The sixth stage comes on or around the tenth day, leaves the sore red and slightly swollen, but without the hard crust. The regular cycle of cold sores are ten days and with the home remedies for cold sores below you will be able to shorten the time to 3 to 5 days when used correctly.

Symptoms of Cold Sores

Generally signs and symptoms of cold sores are seen after twenty days of exposure to the virus. Small, painful and fluid-filled red or brown blisters could be seen on the skin.

Blisters may burst and ooze. Tingling precedes blisters after one or two days. Once infected by the virus you may experience head ache, irritability and fever. 

There may be problem in swallowing any food stuff or liquid. Itching and swelling of lips are common. Lymph nodes on the neck may swell. Drooling may be seen among small children. Symptoms may last from seven to ten days.

Cold sores most often tend to appear on the lips, but could also appear on the nostrils, chin and possibly on the fingers. At times there could also be an appearance of cold sores on the insides of your mouth, on the gums or cheek, but in most cases these are canker sores.

Prior to the appearance of full fledged cold sore symptoms you would probably notice a tingling sensation in the area and may also notice the area to be slightly raised and inflamed. This sensation in the area is called prodrome and tends to appear a day or two prior to the actual appearance of the cold sore inside the mouth or anywhere else on the body.

Cold sore outbreaks usually clear up on their own without any herpes or cold sores treatments. Cold sores treatment with home remedies and other fast fixes simply provide relief. There are however certain circumstances under which it would be advisable to seek a doctor’s advice:

-If you suffer from a compromised or weakened immune system due to some pre-existing health condition.
-If the cold sores are persistent and linger on for more than one or two weeks when untreated.
-If the symptoms are severe or if cold sore outbreaks are very frequent.
-If you also experience irritation in the eyes.

Cold sores symptoms may not always be present even if you have been infected with the herpes virus. Under normal circumstances the symptoms of cold sores may only surface around twenty days after exposure and infection, and in some cases the symptoms may not even become apparent until much later. This however does not mean that you are not infected and you could still be a carrier of the virus and pose a serious risk of infection to others. It would therefore make sense to go in for type specific blood tests if you even have the slightest suspicion or reason to believe that you may have been exposed to infection. Some conditions for reasonable suspicion include the following:

-If you are in a physical relationship with a partner who is infected, despite which you have never experienced symptoms and have not been tested.
-If you have been in a relationship with a partner who was infected, or if you are aware that your partner may have been exposed to the virus.
-If you have had several sexual partners or have engaged in unprotected casual sex and would like to be tested for prevalent STDs.

Causes of Cold Sores

HSV 1 and HSV2 Virus

Herpes virus that causes cold sores is of two types: HSV 1 and HSV 2. In most of the cases HSV 1 is the cause. Generally HSV 1 causes oral herpes and HSV 2 causes genital herpes, but not necessary, both can infect any area of the body. As these viruses are contagious, cold sores can be caused by close contact like hugging and kissing with the infected person. It may be that a person has recovered from cold sore and the symptoms are not visible but the virus still remains present and can be transmitted to others.

Herpes is contracted primarily through direct skin contact with an infected individual. This contact is not necessarily with genital areas. In some cases the virus responsible for cold sores may also be passed on through indirect contact such as through sharing a lip balm or lip stick or from shared towels. Although the virus normally passes through tiny lesions or breaks in the skin, generally mucus membranes in the oral and genital areas, microscopic abrasions that would go unnoticed could also allow for passage of the virus.

Re-occurrence of Cold Sores
Some triggers like pregnancy, lips or gum injury, dental treatment, cosmetic surgery, fatigue, stress, and hormonal changes may cause cold sore to reoccur.

Although there are many possible triggers for the recurrence of cold sores inside the mouth, more often than not, a connection can be drawn between recurrent outbreaks of cold sores and periods of weakened immunity. This could mean that you are more likely to experience a recurrence when you are fatigued or overworked or even when you are experiencing your menstrual cycle. At other time, excess alcohol consumption, prolonged exposure to sunlight, health conditions or ailments that compromise immunity, when subjected to excessive stress or if suffering depression, certain medications, or restrictive or deficient diets could increase the risk of an outbreak.

A permanent cure for cold sores is not really possible, whether one uses conventional medicine or cold sore home remedies. However, it should be pointed out that there are plenty of effective methods of preventing or at least minimizing the occurrence and severity of outbreaks of cold sores inside the mouth.


HOME REMEDIES FOR COLD SORES

-Use Ice
Ice is a very good home remedy for cold sores. Rub ice on the infected skin for few minutes, repeat this every hour.

-Use Tea Bag
Apply a tea bag for few minutes on the blisters, repeat this every hour. One can also consider pressing a warm tea bag on the blisters for approximately 30 minutes.

-Use Echinacea and goldenseal extract mixture
Echinacea is an immune system booster that can also prevent a cold sore outbreak. Take one dropper-full a day for no more than 3 days. Also put a few drops on a cotton ball and place on the affected area for a few minutes several times a day.

-Lemon balm 
Lemon balm contains a high concentration of polyphenols and appears to minimize herpes outbreaks. It can be applied topically in cream form. Or brew as a tea lemon balm can be taken internally as it has antiviral qualities.Lemon balm extract helps to reduce symptoms and speeds up healing.

-Olive leaf extract is good as a natural antibiotic for viral infections.

-L-Lysine fights that virus that causes cold sores. Take 500 mg twice a day.

-Vitamin B complex is very important for healing and immune system functions. Take 100 mg of each major B vitamin twice a day.

-Place a small amount of salt on the cold sore and hold it in place with your finger for a minute or two. This may be painful but it is one of the quickest ways to heal cold sores.

-Cut garlic in half and place one part on the cold sore. A compound in garlic cold Kyolic has antiviral properties which speeds healing. Take 2 garlic capsules a day.

Other Remedies

Applying Witch Hazel on sores will give you some relief. Dip your moist index finger in powdered common salt and press the sore for 30 seconds using this index finger. Gently rub aloe vera gel or oil on the sores. 

Those having weak immune system will take more time to recover and may face more severe consequences.

Very often over exposure or sensitivity to sunlight could cause outbreaks of cold sores inside the mouth. In order to avoid such situations it is advisable to use a good quality sunscreen on your lips if you are going to be spending too much time in the sun.
Make sure that you do not simply attempt to disguise the cold sores by using makeup and other cosmetic products as very often the chemicals in them will simply cause further irritation to the skin and worsen the condition.

Use Licorice
Cold sore treatment with cold sore home remedies like candy may sound far fetched but there is some truth to it. According to many researchers licorice can actually help inhibit the development of cold sores. This effect is attributed to an ingredient in licorice, known as glycyrrhizic acid. Try chewing on a licorice whip, but just you would need to be sure that it is actually made from real licorice. You could also simply buy some licorice powder and sprinkle it over the sores.

Use Cold Milk
According to some naturalists cold milk has a role in cold sore treatment as they believe it can provide relief and even promote healing. According to some, you could simply soak a cotton ball or swab in some cold milk and dab it or apply gently over the sore.

Use Zinc Lozenges
Stress can trigger cold sores and one of the best ways to prevent cold sores is by sucking on zinc lozenges. These lozenges are very good for boosting the immune system and can therefore help in preventing cold sores.

Use Peppermint Oil
For cold sore on lips treatment using peppermint oil has also been found to be very effective. Peppermint oil can penetrate the skin and its powerful antiviral properties can have a curing effect on cold sores.

Use Reishi and Astragalus
The Reishi mushroom has been widely used in Chinese medicine to boost immunity. 600 milligrams of this herb in powder or supplement form can be taken one or two times a day to control the spread of cold sores causing herpes virus. Reishi is also used in combination with an herb called astragalus to improve immunity in people who have been infected with the herpes virus.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide
A good home remedy for cold sores on the tongue is a solution prepared by mixing water with 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, one teaspoon of baking soda and five teaspoons of salt. This solution can be used to rinse the mouth for at least a minute, 4-5 times a day to effectively get rid of cold sores on the tongue.

Use Raw Onion
Small pieces of raw onion can be applied directly on the cold sores for treating and preventing cold sores from getting worse.

Use Plum Juice
For getting rid of cold sores on tongue and in the mouth, 2 tablespoons of plum juice freshly squeezed can be used as a mouth rinse. In case of severe cold sores, a cotton ball can be soaked for sometime in the plum juice and then used as a compress over the cold sores to relieve pain and inflammation.

Certain Things you Need to Avoid

Do not use cosmetic products in an attempt to hide cold sores. Burying the cold sores under a layer of makeup will simply aggravate the problem as most cosmetics do contain some chemicals, which would be too harsh for your already highly sensitized skin.

Avoid picking or pinching at a cold sore as this poses a high threat of bacterial infection. Also make sure that you never touch the cold sore and then touch your eyes or genitals, as this will simply spread the infection. Always make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitizer after touching a cold sore.

Diet for Cold Sores

Avoid acidic and salty foods. Foods such as chocolates, peanuts, grains, peas, seeds, oatmeal and whole-wheat are high in arginine, therefore they should be restricted. Avoid tea and coffee. 

Eat vitamin rich diet
Your diet must include vitamin A, C and E. Zinc and iron are also necessary. Include garlic in your diet. Eat fresh food with high antioxidants and high complex carbohydrates. 

Avoid processed food. Eat lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables.While lysine, the amino acid, exercises a positive effect on your body’s natural defense system, arginine, which is another amino acid, demonstrates a suppressing effect on lysine. It is therefore best to restrict your intake of arginine sources like meats, dairy produce, nuts, seeds and corn. It is not necessary to avoid these foods completely though.

During an outbreak it would be advisable to avoid consuming citric fruits like oranges and lemons as they may cause severe irritation to any cold sore inside the mouth. For the same reason it would also be best to avoid any spicy or hard, crisp foods that could irritate the skin.

Suggestions for Cold Sores

Always wash your hand after touching your fingers or genitals. Always avoid direct contact with the blisters due to cold sores. Apply sunscreen cream on the susceptible areas. Never share your personal belongings like tooth brush with the infected person.It is important that you get adequate rest and relaxation, and follow a healthy diet and exercise routine, as they are essential in building your natural immunity. This is important because in reality this is the only defense against the outbreak of cold sores inside the mouth.

If the infection is persistent and spreads to your eyes make sure that you consult a doctor promptly.


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor.


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