First dates, job interviews, and family photos all have one thing in common: They’re worse if you’ve got a cold sore. Cold sores, which are sometimes called fever blisters, are quite a pesky inconvenience. But before going to your doctor and spending money for an office visit and prescriptions, you could try some natural home remedies to alleviate your cold sore and the symptoms that may accompany it.
Understanding what causes a cold sore can help you avoid getting one in the first place. Cold sores are caused by a contagious virus called herpes type 1. The virus is passed from person to person by physical contact. Within two to three weeks of an outbreak, a sore will usually disappear, but the virus will remain in the body. The initial outbreak of cold sores is usually the most intense. Recurrent outbreaks are less severe and are characterized by a burning or tingling sensation in the outbreak area that can last for one to three days before a sore appears.
There are a few approaches that you can use to prevent cold sores. A diet that is high in sugar can play a part in outbreaks. Lowering and eventually cutting out sugar and high-fructose corn syrup from your diet may reduce or eliminate your cold sores. Keeping your immune system strong can also make a difference. You can do this by maintaining a healthy eating program that consists of lean protein, healthy carbs, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Taking an immunity-boosting supplement like vitamin C can also ward off cold sores.
It’s important to change your toothbrush after a cold sore has formed and again when it has gone away. Doing this will prevent further spread of the virus and will speed up recovery.
There are a few steps that you can take to speed up the healing processes for a cold sore that has already formed.
- Do not touch the cold sore.
- Apply raw, unprocessed honey to the affected area.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the affected area of your lip and cover it with gauze.
- Apply lemon balm ointment, which you can purchase at most drugstores.