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Getting rid of a cold sore can be difficult. The infection by the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores (also known as oral herpes) is impossible to cure and is, therefore, a chronic condition that can recur throughout the person’s life.
Roughly 90% of people will have a cold sore at some point in their lives, so it’s an extremely common condition. Unfortunately for many, the treatments available are only slightly effective for most people and not at all effective in some. There is no set way of how to get rid of a cold sore, so try the different options available.
What is a Cold Sore?
A cold sore is the result of the herpes simplex virus coming out of its dormant phase and starting to reproduce. This reproduction results in the deaths of the host cells. Thus causing them to break down and release lots of herpes viruses and what are known as factors. These trigger responses in the neighboring cells. These responses result in the cold sore.
Cold sores are basically your body fighting the infection in the ways it knows best. Inflammation, flooding the area with antivirals, teams of clean up cells and repair proteins. This is painful, itchy and unpleasant for the host, you. It is important for you to know the signs and symptoms. Treating a cold sore fast is the best way to reducing the spread of the virus.
Cold sores are often triggered by a period of stress, so by dealing with whatever caused you stress, you can hopefully reduce the inflammation and prevent a relapse.
Creams are available, containing antiviral medication like aciclovir (penciclovir). These are widely available and when studied, have no effect whatsoever. A cold sore sufferer might benefit from the placebo effect but the medication itself has not been proven to work.
Most people apply the cream after the effective time for the cream has passed. An antiviral cream should be applied when the tingling feeling of an oncoming cold sore is experienced if it is to be effective at all.
There are patches available that contain hydrocolloid, a medication for skin wounds. Placed over the affected area, these deal with the symptoms of the cold sore and can apparently reduce inflammation, pain, and itching.
Research has shown that neither of these treatments affects the time a cold sore is present for, nor speed up the healing process.
A cold compress or applying ice will feel good but won’t prevent a relapse or reduce the length of the painful phase.
Over-the-counter creams for mouth ulcers, cuts and inflammation can help with the symptoms and might be a good option.
Painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and paracetamol can be taken a few times a day to reduce the pain of a cold sore and should only be taken in accordance with the instructions in the packet. Don’t take aspirin if you’ve had stomach ulcers or are under the age of 16.
A great “home remedy” that is often forgotten is simply washing your hands. Dirt and bacteria cause the virus to reproduce quicker. By making sure you keep your hands clean you’ll reduce the chance of an outbreak. For extra effect, you can scrub your hands with aloe vera gel.
An all natural treatment is CBD oil. Cannabis oil acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, soothing the symptoms of a cold sore.
If you are suffering from a cold sore and are pregnant, this can have serious effects on you and your growing foetus, so you should consult a doctor immediately for consultation.
Cold sores can be very serious for people with compromised immune systems or immune disorders, so they should consult their doctor if they are developing a cold sore.