Natural cures for cold sores are considered effective and reliable treatments. In the beginning, Cold sores which are also called fever blisters are fluid-filled tiny blisters on and around lips, often grouped in patches.
Children less than 5 years usually have blisters inside the mouth and on the cheek. It often heals in two to three weeks without leaving a scar.
They are caused by infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) which transmit by close contact like kissing.
Versions of herpes simplex virus;
Herpes simplex type 1(HSV-1)
Herpes simplex type 2(HSV-2)
Also called genital herpes and it's less common than (HSV-1). About 17 % of Americans aged 14 to 49 have it.
Symptoms of cold sores:
Enlarged cervical lymph nodes
Pain on swallowing
Stages of cold sores:
- Tingling, itching around the mouth.
- After 12 to 24 hours the blister forms and the area become tender, red, and swollen
- The blisters open and the fluid inside comes out, these last 2 days.
- Scabs form on the cold sores
- The scab falls off.
When should I see my doctor?
- If you have a weak immune system for example if you have HIV or receive chemotherapy.
- Sever symptoms.
- If you are not sure it's cold sores.
- If the sore has not healed
- If you have more than one sore
- If it spread near your eyes.
Can cold sores be prevented?
- Avoid intimate contact with other people, particularly kissing.
- Never share cups and toothbrushes.
- Always wash your hands.
Complications of cold sores:
Secondary bacterial infection and spread to eyes.
The cold sores resolve within 2 to 3 weeks, However, the following home remedies help them relieve sooner.
Natural cures for cold sores:
1- Aloe vera:
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.
2- Lemon palm:
One of the most powerful natural cures for cold sores as it has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps reduce the redness and pain around the cold sore.
It also has an antiviral effect that can kill the herpes simplex virus.
Can treat inflammation by reducing the blood supply, it's used for temporary relief of pain and discomfort. It doesn't affect the virus or reduce the period of the stages of cold sores.
Apply it topically on it after you wrap it with cloth for a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes.
4- Oregano oil:
It's one of the excellent natural cures for cold sores because oregano oil has an antiviral effect and can inhibit the herpes simplex virus.
Apply it topically on the affected area several times throughout the day.
5- Licorice extracts:
Has an antiherpetic effect, so considered one of the effective natural cures for cold sores.
Use it topically on the sores.
6- Tea tree oil:
It's one of the natural cures for cold sores to improve the healing process of the cold sores by drying them out.
It has antiseptic properties, thus preventing secondary bacterial infection. It has an antiviral effect and can be applied topically.
7- Apple cider vinegar:
Can cause skin irritation so, should be used in small amounts topically on the sores.
8- Witch hazels:
Some studies proved that witch hazel is effective in reducing inflammation and inhibition of the herpes simplex virus Apply it topically and continue till healing occurs.
9- Tea Bags:
Used as a cool compress, It doesn't have an antiviral effect, but has an anti-inflammatory effect.
11- Vanilla extracts:
Used topically as it helps dry out cold sores, so decrease the period that cold sores take and hence it is one of the vulnerable cures for cold sores.
12- Hot compresses:
Also, hot compresses have an anti-inflammatory effect and a temporary pain relief effect.
13- Petroleum jelly:
Prevents secondary bacterial infection of the cold sores, but does not have an antiviral effect. It's a considerable one of the natural cures for cold sores.
Has prophylactic response. In a study on persons who use sunscreen versus those who don't, both were exposed to UV rays and developed cold sores.
It was found that none of those who used sunscreen developed cold sores.
15- Ginger oil, thyme oil, hyssop oil:
They were found to be effective natural cures for cold sores due to their antiviral effect.
16- Peppermint oil:
Effective antiviral effect on (HSV-1), also promotes healing of the cold sores and relieves pain thus it is one of the considerable natural cures for cold sores.
17- Kanuka honey:
It was found that kanuka honey which comes from the manuka tree in New Zealand promotes the healing of cold sores and also has antiviral effects similar to acyclovir, thus it's one of the beneficial natural cures for cold sores.
It was found that propolis is among the natural cures for cold sores as it helps heal wounds quickly.
Risks and warnings:
These remedies aren't safe in pregnancy and nursing.
Don't use essential oil with children and old adults.
Ask your doctor before taking any oral herpes.
Cold sores tend to be recurrent,
Usually, the first outbreak is the most severe, while the next outbreak tends to be less severe.
This is due to the dormancy of the virus in the nerve cells, thus it doesn't leave the body after the first outbreak, hence it can be reactivated and attack the body again.
A flare-up can occur at any time by triggering agents like prolonged sun exposure, stress, surgery, trauma, and burn.
Some remedies of natural cures for cold sores were used to decrease the frequency of outbreaks and decrease their duration.
Factors trigger the herpes simplex virus:
- Prolonged sun exposure.
- Dental procedure.
- Old age
- Organ transplantation.
The risk of infection with herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) increases in:
1- Cancer patients
2- Autoimmune diseases.
3- Severe burns
4- HIV patients.
5- Eczema patients
Can you prevent the recurring of cold sores?
Healthy diets help improve the immune system. Stop alcohol intake, decrease carbohydrate intake and increase vegetable and fruits intake.
Increase protein intakes like fish and chicken. In immunocompromised patients such as HIV patients, the herpes simplex 1 infection tends to be severe and more frequent and causes serious complications like brain and eye inflammation.
The use of antiviral medications before exposure to triggering factors.
The use of sunscreen was found to reduce the frequency of relapses of herpes simplex type 1.
The average incidence of it is 1.6 per 1000 patients every year, and its prevalence is 2.5 per 1000 patients every year. Approximately one-third of the patients suffer relapses.
The primary infection with herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) occur usually before the age of 20 years.
About 80 percent of American adolescents have antibodies against it. After the age of 35, the number of relapses decreases.
The natural cures of cold sores were found to decrease the agitating symptoms and help rapid healing but not decrease the number of relapses.
Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters present at the angles of the mouth and on the cheek caused by HSV-1. They can ooze break out and crust lasting for about a week to 2 weeks.
They tend to be recurrent. Natural cures for cold sores aren't a replacement for a clinical treatment plan.
You may find comfort with natural cures for cold sores but first, you should talk with your doctor before you start any alternative therapy to discuss with you the possible side effects and interactions.