Having cold sores can be a mortifying ordeal. Because they are found on or around your lips, they are certainly hard to overlook. No matter if in the form of tiny blisters, large ulcerations or scabs, those painful and unsightly cold sores can be a source of sheer embarrassment.
How Do You Get Cold Sores?
Herpes simplex virus, in particular the herpes simplex virus type 1 (herpes simplex virus type 2 is the one transmitted via sexual contact with an infected person, causing sores and blisters in the privates) causes cold sores. You may have herpes simplex virus type 1 staying dormant in your body, usually acquired when you were a child. However, it may be awakened from its inactive state whenever you’re stressed out, anxious or suffering from an infection such as the common cold.
Many people think that cold sores and cancer sores are one and the same, but the truth is they’re not. Cancer sores develop inside the mouth, usually brought about by bacteria and stress. While canker sores are not contagious, cold sores are highly contagious. You can get them from kissing or sharing utensils or razor with someone who has cold sores. Yes, it is very much possible for cold sores to spread to other parts of your body — including down there!
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cold Sores?
The initial symptom of cold sores is pain around your mouth or even on the lips themselves. You may also suffer from a fever, sore throat, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and elsewhere on the body. Eventually, those nasty blisters appear, which tend to break open and leak clear fluid that can cause cold sores to infect another person or any other part of your body that comes into contact with it. The sores will then form scab over them, gradually disappearing in a few days up to a couple of weeks.
What are Some Natural Remedies for Cold Sores?
There is no known cure for cold sores to date. In fact, you cannot cure the virus which causes it. Once you have herpes simplex virus type 1 in your system, you have it for the rest of your life. Cold sores tend to appear from time to time because of this lifelong infection.
However, there are a few home remedies for cold sores than can help make condition easier for you to bear, as well as make them go away faster. Here they are:
- Apply petroleum jelly. This will help keep those sores from becoming infected. Refrain from hiding them with makeup as chemicals in cosmetics may only aggravate the problem.
- Get a new toothbrush. Once cold sores have healed, you don’t want to develop them soon after. That’s why it is a good idea to change your toothbrush as it is very likely for your current one to have the virus after it came into contact with the clear fluid inside the sores.
- Refrain from touching those cold sores. It can be very tempting to pinch or pick those blisters but you should do your best to avoid it. This may only cause cold sores to infect parts of your body that you touch afterwards. In case of accidental touches, immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
- Place ice or cold compress on the sores. Shortening the lifespan of cold sores is possible if you apply ice or cold compress on them as soon as they arrive. Doing this also helps provide utmost relief from the pain.
- Apply cold milk. Use a cotton ball to apply cold milk on the sores for pain relief. Many swear by the efficacy of this remedy if you start doing this the minute you feel those sores are about to surface.
- Keep your lips from unnecessary sun exposure. Because cold sores may be caused by the sun, apply lip balm with SPF of at least 15 to keep those blisters from showing up.