Cold sores or fever blisters, as they are sometimes referred to, can be a painfully embarrassing condition. These tiny blisters can appear seemingly out of nowhere and can ruin anyone’s day, evening or week. While many people know what a cold sore looks like, they do not know what causes it, how to prevent it from happening, or even what cold sore remedies work the best.
It may seem as if knowing this information may have little or no impact on cold sore sufferers, but knowing the cause, prevention and proven cold sore remedies can help you or any person who suffers from cold sores.
What Causes a Cold Sore?
A virus, known as the herpes simplex virus, causes the tiny, red blisters that usually appear around or in the mouth. The virus enters the body through an open sore, wound or through the mouth.
A person with an active cold sore outbreak will have tiny blisters in or around the mouth. These blisters can appear bright red, puffy, and swollen. Sometimes the blisters can break or crack open leaking out a clear liquid. Someone with an active infection or outbreak can easily spread the virus through skin-to-skin contact with someone who does not have it. Direct contact and sharing items such as utensils and razors that have come into contact with the cold sore can spread the virus.
What are Some Cold Sore Remedies?
To prevent infection from the herpes simplex virus, avoid coming into direct physical contact with a person currently experiencing an outbreak. However, some remedies do exist that can work to reduce the length of infection and clear up cold sores quickly. Read below to learn about the top five cold sore remedies people use.
- Apply a nonprescription cream or ointment designed to heal the cold sore and reduce pain and swelling. You can obtain these creams and ointments over-the-counter and one, Abreva®, even has the ability to prevent cold sores from happening if applied early enough.
- Use sunscreen lip glosses or lipsticks. Overexposure to the sun can activate latent virus and cause an outbreak. Using a beauty product of at least SPF 15 can prevent cold sore outbreaks caused by sun exposure.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the cold sore. Use a cotton swab or Q-tip to apply petroleum jelly to the cold sore to prevent the infection from spreading to areas around the sore.
- Discover the cold sore triggers. Some cold sores occur due to a triggering event. Avoiding these events can prevent outbreaks. Some events known to trigger cold sores include fevers, colds, stress, food allergies, contact with acidic foods, and dental work. While no one would suggest avoiding necessary dental work, taking scrupulous care of your teeth and practicing good oral hygiene may make certain dental work unnecessary.
- Eat foods containing real licorice, not artificial licorice flavoring. Real licorice contains a substance called glycyrrhizic acid. An acid clinically proven to stop cold sores from forming. You can eat candy that contains real licorice or use a specially prepared powder.
No one likes dealing with annoying and bothersome cold sores, but by taking the proper precautions you can prevent them from forming in the first place. If one does happen to pop up, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about cold sore remedies to treat, heal, and prevent spreading.
Let us know some of your favorite cold sore remedies in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: Please welcome guest contributor, William Smith. While not related to the awesome Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith, we know you’ll enjoy his posts all the same.
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