Cold sores are tiny, fluid-filled blisters that appear on the outside of the mouth or just inside the mouth. A type of herpes simplex virus ( HSV-1) causes these sores. Left untreated, the sores will typically go away in about 10 to 14 days. However, below are some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of cold sores, and get rid of the cold sores possibly a bit faster.
The first thing to remember about cold sores is not to touch them with your hands. You will only spread the virus if you do. The virus can come off on your hands when you touch these sores. Then when you touch other parts of your face, or body you can transfer the virus to those areas. This could cause other blisters to break out and increase your discomfort. One nasty consequence is the occurrence of herpetic whitlow, which is the manifestation of herpes simplex viral outbreak on the fingers and thumbs.
Use a cotton swab instead to clean the cold sores or to apply other treatments. This keeps your hands off the cold sores. Wash the cold sore with a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use the hydrogen peroxide full strength because it will shock the surrounding healthy tissue. Add 3 or 4 drops of hydrogen peroxide to 1/2 cup of water. This will gently cleanse the sores.
Then apply a commercial treatment if you so choose to alleviate the pain and itching of the cold sores. Abreva is one such product on the market today. It is specially designed to target the HSV-1 that causes the blisters to form in the first place. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to how often to apply it this treatment.
Some people just opt to use petroleum jelly or other emollients to keep the sores moist. This keeps them from drying and itching. Apply any of these as needed throughout the day.
Make sure that your body is as healthy as possible. This will help your body rid itself of the virus more quickly. Eat healthy foods that provide vitamin C, zinc, and other healing nutrients. Also, take supplements to ensure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis.
There are some oral antiviral medications that the doctor can prescribe if you are having trouble getting rid of the cold sores. These include such things as Valacyclovir, Acyclovir, Penciclovir and Famciclovir. Consult your doctor for his guidance in this area.
Ice packs also provide relief from pain and can be used as often as you wish. Hold an ice pack on the sores for about 10 to 20 minutes as needed. Ice numbs the pain to make the cold sores more bearable.
Cornstarch paste helps not only the pain, but also the itching of these sore. It does so by reducing the pH of the area. The HSV-1 needs an acidic environment to thrive. You will reduce the time cold sores are on your skin by making the area more alkaline. Add enough water to cornstarch to make a paste and apply it over the area. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, before gently rinsing the area. Remember to wear gloves to keep from touching your skin.
All the above are effective ways to sooth and get rid of cold sores. These sores will not go away overnight. It will take about 10 to 14 days in most cases. You can decrease this time with the proper action. A healthy body is the best way to prevent the body contracting the HSV-1 that causes the cold sores. Examine your lifestyle and make the appropriate changes if you are constantly getting these sores.