Common Cold Sore Treatments OTC and CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) and over the counter treatments available for cold sores

Image Credit: By Zaksheuskaya on shutterstock.

The Common Cold Sore

It’s thought that up to 80% of American adults suffer from cold sores. It’s an extremely common condition that we’re all familiar with. However, even though so many of us have had cold sores, very few fully understand what cold sores are, how they’re caused, or how to best treat them.

A surprising number of people assume that cold sores are linked to the common cold. There is no truth in this though. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus which has nothing to do with having the sniffles or sneezes. They can develop at any time, for people of any age.

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters or canker sores, are small fluid-filled blisters that develop around the mouth and lips. They are extremely easy to spread from one person to another and usually take about ten days to heal.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the virus that causes cold sores. Once a person has caught it, they can’t get rid of it. So, for these people, it’s very important to know how to treat them well. By doing this, they can minimize the symptoms and effects of cold sores and the impact they have on their everyday life.

What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. More often than not, they are caused by one particular strain of the virus. This strain is known as herpes simplex virus 1, or HSV-1. However, other strains of the virus can occasionally cause cold sores too, although it’s rare.

The herpes simplex virus is also the virus responsible for genital herpes. This is why cold sores are sometimes referred to as oral herpes. All forms of the virus can be passed from one person to another through contact. This means that anyone who has the HSV-A virus should be careful who they kiss, who they share lip balms, drinks or food etc.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a very complex virus which can go undetected by the immune system. It attaches itself to the cells in our bodies, which is why it is impossible to kill and cure. Once the virus has been caught, it can remain dormant for years. This is why many people don’t even realise they have it.

How to Treat Cold Sores

Thankfully, because cold sores are so common today, there is a whole host of over the counter treatments available. These primarily include antiviral medications containing benzyl alcohol or docosanol. Unlike traditional antibiotics, antivirals don’t kill the cell that the virus has attached itself to. This makes them safe to use in treating cold sores.

Lots of people are trying home remedies to treat their cold sores as an alternative to antiviral medications. Some examples of the most popular methods used during a cold sore outbreak include:

  • Applying a cold compress or cool, used tea bag to the area
  • Mint, witch hazel and peppermint essential oils
  • Aloe vera gel
  • CBD/Cannaidiol

Although there isn’t any real scientific evidence to suggest that these methods work, there is no reason to think that they don’t. Many people with cold sores claim that they are highly effective at shortening the duration of an outbreak.

However, through research and clinical trials CBD oil (from the cannabis plant) may have the potential in treating cold sores. Since results from studies are showing that CBD has medical properties such as antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, CBD may be able to prevent cold sores from worsening, spreading and may reduce redness.

While this being said, it’s important to note that CBD is still under trial, and itis uncertain whether it can be used as a treatment for cold sores.

If you are someone who suffers from cold sores and are searching for a good treatment, it’s best to speak to your family doctor about what might work for you best. In the meantime, an antiviral cream applied several times a day can help to treat the signs and symptoms.

In order to prevent spreading the virus, make sure to wash your hands regularly, and refrain from skin to skin contact with anyone with a weakened immune system such as a small baby or an elderly person.

Cold sores can be a real inconvenience, there’s no doubt about that. But they don’t have to be the end of the world. Speaking to a medical professional and finding the best treatment for you can minimize their impact on your life, and get you back to looking and feeling your best in no time!

Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell is a health, wellness, and lifestyle writer based in Ireland whose work has appeared in The Irish Times and The Independent, among others. In 2017, she founded the lifestyle brand “Self Love and Sarah” to promote healthy self image and body positivity for women.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *