Cold Sores

Symptoms of Cold Sores

As previously mentioned, cold sores typically appear on the lips. However, they may also develop on the chin, nostrils or fingers. The signs and symptoms of cold sores may not appear until 20 days after the body comes into contact with the virus.

An outbreak of cold sores begins with an itching and tingling sensation around the site of the lesion. The area proceeds to become red and within one to two days the sores appear in small clusters of fluid-filled, painful blisters. The area around the sores remains red and swollen. The sores also cause a burning sensation, particularly during the consumption of salty, tangy and spicy foods.

Cold sores usually heal within seven to ten days and usually do not scar so long as they are not tampered with. The blisters undergo a cycle of formation, rupture, which involves the release of a clear, white fluid, and development of a yellow crust that sheds within a couple of days and that leaves virtually no sign of scarring.

Prevention of Cold Sores:

Cold sores cannot be prevented but the frequency of their outbreak may be controlled by following a few simple steps:

Avoid skin contact with individuals who have active blisters or with individuals who are suffering from fever, cold or any ailment that can depress the immune system. Avoid sharing towels, clothes, utensils, and similar objects to further minimize the risk of developing cold sores.
Maintain proper hygiene to inhibit viral growth. Clean hands frequently and ensure to wash hands each time contact is made with any other person. These measures will also prevent the spread of any other infection that may depress the immune system and ultimately lead to the formation of cold sores.
Avoiding stress can also aid in controlling outbreaks of cold sores.
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Wear a hat when outside and use sunscreen (including on lips), despite the weather condition.
Identify certain foods that incite outbreaks of cold sores and proceed to avoid them.

There are no specific cures for cold sores, but there are a few natural and inexpensive remedies that can be utilized to lower the pain and to quicken the healing process.

Natural Cures

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera can be used to treat most skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. This miracle gel can also aid in quickly healing cold sores. Break up the aloe leaf and apply the gel that is seeping out of it onto the affected area at least three times each day. Utilize this treatment as soon you notice the first signs of the sores.

Tea Tree oil

Tea tree oil is believed to have strong anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, which in turn strengthen the immunity of the body against bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

Dab a small amount of tea tree oil directly onto the area with a cotton swab during the onset of cold sores (while there is the pre-blister formation stage and the redness and burning sensation begins).
Dilute tea tree oil with water if the skin is sensitive.

Grapefruit Seed extract

The Herpes Simplex Type-1 virus is believed to become inactive within ten minutes after the application of grapefruit seed extract onto the cold sore. Mix several drops of grapefruit seed extract with one tablespoon of light olive oil or vegetable glycerin and apply two to three times each day to the affected area with a cotton swab. Allow the mixture to remain overnight and repeat the process when another blister develops.

Diet and Cold Sores

Certain dietary changes may aid in the prevention of cold sores and also aid in a faster healing process. Individuals who have suffered from cold sores or who are suffering from this ailment should avoid acidic or salty food because these can irritate the sores even further. Foods high in arginine, an amino acid that supports the growth of the virus, should also be restricted while the lesion is active. Arginine is present in common foods including grains, chocolates, whole wheat, oatmeal, peas, and seeds. Tea, coffee and processed foods should also be avoided at this time.

A diet that is rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E and in complex carbohydrates is advisable for faster healing of cold sores. Minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron are also known to help in the healing and prevention of cold sores. These supplements can be consumed through fresh fruits and green, leafy vegetables and yogurt.

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