Cold sores, or fever blisters, are often painful or even embarrassing, popping up at the most inopportune times. This virus is associated with sores around the mouth, but they can also occur inside the nose, at the corners of the eyes, the fingers, and the genitals. Although named cold sores, they have little to do with the common cold. The herpes simplex virus or HSV cause these blisters that ooze before crusting over and healing.
Fast Facts About Cold Sores
- Forty percent of people who become infected with the herpes simplex virus experience repeat breakouts.
- Cold sores last between 7-10 days.
- Herpes simplex 2 is sexually transmitted, while herpes simplex 1 is not.
How Did I Get A Cold Sore?
Cold sores are extremely contagious. The virus spreads through touch, kissing, and sharing drinks or utensils. There are a few common risk factors that increase your chances of getting a cold sore.
- Colds, allergies, and fever
- Excessive sun exposure
- Trigger foods
Natural Cold Sore Treatment
While antiviral medications exist and claim to shorten the duration of a cold sore outbreak, many people find them expensive and ineffective. So more people are researching homeopathic treatments or natural remedies for cold sores. There are many natural and effective methods of treating cold sores or fever blisters.
Studies have shown that zinc is an effective supplement during a cold sore outbreak, particularly a zinc oxide cream. It has been proven to shorten the duration of the sore. Zinc is also available in other forms, such as capsules, and it’s found naturally in several foods. If you’d like to boost your zinc intake through food, consider eating pumpkin seeds, chicken, yogurt, eggs, and chickpeas.
Peppermint oil has antiviral properties. When applied to the herpes simplex blister in the early stages, it can inhibit the growth of the virus, shortening the life of the cold sore.
The herpes simplex virus feeds on certain amino acids. By combatting these amino acids, you can essentially starve the virus. Studies show that L-lysine is a good amino acid that combats the harmful amino acids. It can be taken in supplement form, applied directly to the skin, or consumed through fish, turkey, and vegetables.
Several vitamin supplements can boost your immunity and help you fight your cold sores naturally. Vitamin C is a well-known immune system booster. It helps your body produce extra white blood cells, which fight infection. Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement, but it’s easy to get extra in the food you eat. Oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, peppers, and broccoli are all great sources of vitamin C.
Another great vitamin for treating a cold sore is vitamin E. It helps repair skin damage as well as reduce inflammation. It can be taken in capsule form or applied directly to the cold sore.
Treat Your Symptoms
To get relief from your painful, burning, and swollen cold sores there are several natural treatments you can try. Vanilla oil is a known anti-inflammatory. Applied directly to the skin it reduces swelling and relieves discomfort.
Ice or a cold compress can also reduce swelling, as an Aloe Vera gel. Aloe Vera is a soothing and healing treatment for all types of skin conditions.
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