Cold sores, sometimes called canker sores, are an affliction that affect up to 80% of the population of the United States today. These small, blister-like sores can be unsightly, painful and are highly contagious. Once a person has had their first cold sore, they will continue to have them periodically for the rest of of their lives.
However, having cold sores doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The fact that this condition has become so prevalent has resulted in the development of a huge range of cold sore treatments.
Today we have more choice than ever before when it comes to treating our cold sores, whether with medication, over the counter products, or home remedies. However, in order to treat cold sores effectively it’s vital to understand exactly what they are and how they work.
A cold sore is a small blister which occurs on or around the mouth. The blister is filled with fluid and eventually bursts. Soon after, a crusty scab is formed over the top of the sore and it eventually heals and disappears.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There is one particular strain of this virus which is associated with cold sores. This strain is known as HSV-1. However, other strains of the virus can, on occasion, cause the same effects.
The herpes virus is also the virus that causes (cold sores) genital herpes. This is why cold sores are sometimes referred to as oral herpes.
Herpes simplex is a virus with no known cure. Scientists have struggled to find an effective cure because of the way that the virus attaches itself to the cells inside the body. This means that the virus can’t be killed without killing the cell too.
All cold sores begin with an itching or tingling sensation in a specific place on or around the mouth and lips. A couple of days after this sensation begins, a small, fluid filled blister will appear. This blister can be painful and tempting to touch but it’s best if you refrain from touching it as much as possible.
After a few more days, mid way through the cold sores cycle, the blister will burst and ooze. At this point, the priority should be to keep the sore clean and not touch it at all. A crusty scab will develop on top of it, and after a few more days it will fully heal and disappear.
Touching the cold sore at any point during this cycle makes spreading the virus much more likely. During this time you shouldn’t kiss anyone, share drinks or food with anyone, or risk passing on the virus in any way.
While the virus can be spread at any point, it is during a cold sore outbreak that it is most contagious. Thankfully, there are treatments that you can use to speed up the cold sore cycle and the healing process.
There is a huge variety of cold sore treatments available in every drug store across the country. These include antiviral medications, sprays, lip balms and ointments. The efficacy of these products varies greatly, and some can cause nasty side effects.
However, many people are turning to home remedies to treat a lot more than just cold sores. While some of these home remedies haven’t been strictly backed up through scientific study, many rely on centuries of anecdotal evidence and accepted wisdom.
Aloe vera gel is synonymous with burns, but did you know that it can act as a great remedy for cold sores too? Aloe soothes the skin, relieving pain and discomfort. It can also help to keep the blister clean and free of bacteria throughout the cycle.
Lemon balm oil, one of the 90+ essential oils, contains antiviral properties. This means that it helps to protect the body from viruses. Mixing a couple of drops of this oil with some cool water and applying the solution to the cold sore 3 or 4 times a day could significantly reduce the duration of the flare up.
Furthermore, using lemon oil as a preventative measure could really prevent cold sores from occuring in the first place, researchers say.
CBD oil is an oil which is extracted from the cannabis plant. This oil, scientifically known as cannabidiol but sometimes referred to as hemp oil, is a known anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral. This makes it a potentially powerful cold sore remedy.
Many people are curious about CBD these days having heard so much about it in the news and through word of mouth. However, they are often worried that using CBD oil will cause the euphoric “high” associated with cannabis.
Understandable as it is, this concern is unfounded. Pure CBD cannot have this effect. Another chemical in the cannabis plant known as THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects it can cause. In fact, CBD has been found to be very safe to use and impossible to overdose on.
Whether you’ve been getting cold sores for as long as you can remember or you’ve just experienced your first one, for most people they become a normal part of life. Inconvenient as they are, they can’t cause any real damage to your health.
That being said, nobody likes them. They’re painful, uncomfortable, inconvenient and can cause significant body confidence and self esteem issues. So, finding the best treatment for them is a top priority for many people.