Cold sores are painful blisters that usually appear on or around the lips, chin, cheek, tongue, and nostrils. The medical term for a cold sore is Herpes labialis. It is also known as fever sores. These blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus. Common cold, stress, sleep disorders, menstruation problems, digestive disorders, tooth extraction, and exposure to ultraviolet rays present in sunlight, are some of the reasons that may cause the onset of a cold sore.
- A general feeling of sickness
- Swelling in the glands
- Irritating mouth ulcers
- Tingling and itching around the lip area
- Formation of blisters on the affected region
Often, the blisters that are formed break and ooze out pus. These blisters crust over and gradually disappear in a week or so. However, the victim scratches the blisters to relieve discomfort, which, in turn, spreads the virus and exposes the sore to bacterial infection. Cold sores are contagious. Once your body gets infected, it is difficult to remove the virus completely. Generally, the virus resides at the nerve endings. It senses slight changes in the temperature, pH, stress levels, and immunity levels. When it finds favorable conditions, it comes to the surface, replicates, and grows in population to cause the infection.
That is why, some people suffer from these fever blisters very often, especially under unfavorable circumstances. Your body knows how to deal with the virus causing these blisters, and it is safe, even if you do not take any medication for its treatment. The body takes 4-5 weeks to completely treat these sores. In case you want fast recovery, you can make use of various home remedies for healing cold sores.
Increase the Lysine Intake
Arginine and lysine are the two kinds of amino acids. Arginine plays a very essential role in the replication of herpes virus. When the virus comes to the surface cells, it needs arginine to form its new copies. If it does not find enough arginine, it goes back to its previous placement. Thus, it is very essential to cut down the level of arginine in your body, if you suspect or suffer from a cold sore.
The first thing you can do is, minimize or avoid completely, the food items that are rich in arginine, till the blisters go away. These are chocolates, grains, cereals, nuts, peanuts, and beer. Secondly, it is known that lysine replaces arginine in the cells. Therefore, increase the intake of food items rich in lysine content. Meat, potatoes, and dairy items, such as, milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of lysine. You can also take 1000mg or 3000 mg lysine tablets, but only with your health care provider's approval.
Apply Zinc and Rub Ice
The blisters that are formed are painful and discomforting. You can relieve yourself by applying a mixture of zinc sulfate and camphorated water. The Herpes simplex virus needs a warm and moist atmosphere for growth. Rub the affected region with an ice-cube or anything cold, for example a cold drink can, to get relief.
Maintain an Alkaline pH
The pH level of a healthy human is 7.4, which is slightly alkaline. Under undesirable conditions, such as cold and flu, exposure to the sun and fever, the pH level of your body drops below 7, hence becoming acidic. The cold sore virus requires an acidic atmosphere to grow. Maintain the alkalinity of the body to ease the fight against herpes simplex virus. The best way to do this is to avoid eating acidic foodstuff, such as, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, and vinegar.
Use Emu Oil on the Blisters
Emu oil has antiseptic properties. This oil can seep through seven layers of the skin. Most of the other oils are not able to penetrate the inner layers of the skin. Apply this oil on the blisters to relieve discomfort and prevent further growth of the virus. You can also use vitamin E oil for relieving pain.
Apply Salt and Aloe Vera
Take a teaspoon of aloe vera juice, and add a pinch of salt to it. Mix it well and apply with the help of cotton on the blisters. It fastens the process of healing a cold sore.
Strengthen your Immune System
Take increased amount of vitamin C to boost your immunity against diseases. There are certain herbs that can help you in strengthening your immune system. These are plantain, poke root, dandelion root, licorice, and huang qi. Even yoga meditation, and a healthy and disciplined lifestyle strengthens immunity.
All the above cited measures are natural and effective in their outcome in treating fever blisters. It will be even better though, if you do not allow the cold sore to occur. Take some precautionary steps to prevent its occurrence. For example, as soon as you notice some tingling sensation in the cold sore-prone area, replace your toothbrush, increase the intake of vitamin C and reduce stress as much as possible. The best way to lead a healthy and disease-free life is to have a strong immunity. Therefore, eat a balanced diet, exercise moderately, and keep enjoying your 'hale and hardy' life.