How to get rid of cold sores is an age-old question for many. Cold sores or fever blisters are not only unsightly, but they can be painful and embarrassing for the person who suffers with them. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent a reappearance if you are one of the people who tend to get them. However, there are some effective cold sore remedies that can help eliminate them as quickly as possible. Cold sores are the result of prior exposure to herpes simplex virus type 1. The virus can lie dormant for years until cold, stress or excessive sun exposure results in a breakout, typically a sore on the lip or edge of the mouth.
• One effective treatment is to put petroleum jelly over the cold sore. This not only helps to speed healing, but it can also be an excellent way to avoid a secondary infection in an already inflamed sore. Additionally, an anesthetic ointment that contains benzocaine can be applied for pain relieving benefits.
• Some cold sores are the result of sun exposure, so reducing exposure, especially in areas that are prone to cold sores can help. Consider using a lip balm or sunscreen designed for lips, that has an SPF of at least 15. There are also some lipsticks with sufficient SPF that can provide the protection you need. However, not all cold sores are the result of spending time in the sun, so choose your cold sore remedies wisely.
• If you suffer with numerous cold sores, you might want to discuss the problem with your doctor. There are prescription medications such as Acyclovir, an antiviral medication, which can be quite effective in minimizing the number of outbreaks.
• An important factor in controlling cold sores is trying to prevent an outbreak in the first place. If you get a cold sore, it is important that you change your tooth brush immediately. The virus is most likely already on your toothbrush and changing to a new one can help prevent reinfection. Additionally, once the cold sore clears up, change your toothbrush again.
• Over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve the pain of a cold sore.
• Studies have indicated that glycyrrhizic acid, found in licorice, can stop the virus from forming a cold sore. Of course, it is important that you are actually using real licorice and not a flavored candy that will not have any medicinal benefits. Simply eat a piece of real licorice or make a poultice from licorice powder. In the video below, several doctors discuss how to properly prepare a licorice-based treatment for a cold sore blister.
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• Milk can also help reduce the time it takes for a cold sore to heal and can even prevent the occurrence of a sore if caught at the first tell-tale signs that an outbreak is imminent. Simply soak a cotton ball in some milk and apply to the affected area.
• Icing with a cold compress, ice pack or even extremely cold drink can help minimize pain and reduce the time it takes for your cold sore to heal.
• Reducing stress is often a key factor in minimizing the number of cold sore outbreaks that you experience. It is important to keep in mind that the virus is lurking just below the surface, waiting for a trigger to bring out the cold sore. When you practice stress-reducing techniques, you can help eliminate many of these outbreaks.