Cold Sores, also known as fever blisters or canker sores, are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are a number of different strains of HSV, but one in particular is the primary cause of cold sores. This is known as herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1.
HSV-1 is passed very easily from one person to another through physical contact such as oral sex, sharing food or cosmetics such as lip balms, or other contact. This is why so many people have the condition.
While a person with HSV-1 will experience cold sores for the rest of their lives, the virus does tend to ease over time. This means that the longer a person has had it, the less often they will experience cold sore outbreaks.
People with weakened immune systems are more likely to get a cold sore outbreak. This is because the immune system is constantly fighting the virus, so if it isn’t as strong as it should be, it won’t be able to keep the virus at bay.
Taking care of you immune system is very important for everyone, but particularly for people with HSV-1. You can do this by eating a well balanced diet, taking nutritional supplements, and getting plenty of sleep every night.
HSV-1 attaches itself to cells inside the body. So far, scientists have not discovered a way to kill the virus without killing the cell too. For this reason, there is still no cure for herpes simplex.
Cold sores go through 5 stages from start to finish. The sore should be treated differently during each of the stages, so it’s important that people who suffer from them understand the stages of a cold sore.
Stage 1: Also known as the tingle stage, this is the very beginning of a cold sore outbreak. The patient will feel some tingling or itching on a specific patch of skin. This is where the cold sore will eventually appear. It usually does so a day or two after the sensation begins.
Stage 2: A small, fluid filled blister will appear on the site. Once the sore develops it’s very important not to burst it or touch it too much. The priority at this stage is to protect it and keep it clean. Applying makeup to it is not a good idea.
Stage 3: The blister will eventually burst on its own. This shouldn’t take much longer than two days. Once the blister has burst it’s extremely important to keep it clean. Open sores attract bacteria, and if this happens they can cause much more serious health problems such as secondary impetigo.
Washing it gently and using a home remedies such as tea tree oil to protect against infection should be done two or three times a day. It’s also important to wash your hands regularly at this point in case you touch the sore accidentally.
Stage 4:In this healing stage you will notice a crusty scab developing over the sore. This is a natural part of the healing process. The scab should be left alone at all times. This is the bodies own way of protecting against infection.
The scab can cause some tightness, discomfort and even pain. They are also often itchy. However, touching it is the worst thing you can do.
Stage 5: Finally, the scab will fall off and fully healed skin will be revealed underneath. At this point you should keep the skin moisturized as it may be a little dry. But for all intents and purposes, the cold sore is gone and you can forget about it.
Understanding how to respond to each of these stages is very important. Treating each one correctly can really shorten the time it takes for the sore to move through all 5 stages. On the other hand, bursting the blister yourself, picking at the scab, or scratching at the affected area can delay healing significantly.
If you’re suffering from a cold sore outbreak which seems to be taking a particularly long time to move through the 5 stages, you could make an appointment with your family doctor. He or she might recommend using antiviral medications to give your immune system the little boost it sometimes needs.
Alternatively, there are some home remedies that you can use which are highly effective at helping to speed up the healing process. Cannabidiol (or CBD for short) might be a possible home treatment. This is because CBD can guide lymphocyte function and immune responses. The viral genome of HSV stays within the lymphoid cell nuclei. Due to this discovery, expert decided to further test CBD as a possible method of treating cold sores.
Studies on CBD also show that CBD contains medical properties such as antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatories. Due to these properties, studies are indicating that CBD in topical form may be used during a cold sore outbreak to help fight the symptoms such as inflammation, spreading and redness.
Please remember that all forms of herpes simplex, including HSV-1, are highly contagious. If you suffer from cold sores, it’s really best to minimize sharing food, cosmetics or kisses with anyone except those you’re very close to.
Thankfully, having a cold sore isn’t the end of world as the vast majority of people suffer from them too. And by understanding and treating each of the 5 stages correctly, you can say goodbye to long drawn out outbreaks and get back to yourself faster than ever.