Home Remedies for Cold Sores

Cold sores are general known as fever blisters. It usually appears around the lips, nose and chin. This condition is commonly seen and is contagious. It is mainly caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1(HSV-1). It is highly contagious especially when the blisters are oozing fluid. The virus does not cause sores as soon as it enters the body. It may take some time to show the symptoms or it may even stay dormant permanently.

Factors causing Cold Sores

The following are the various factors the cause cold sores

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Hormonal changes during menstruation
  • Fever
  • Trauma to the skin
  • Exposure to strong sunlight


All the above factors tend to activate the virus leading to outbreaks.

The virus spread through direct contact especially when an individual comes in contact with the infected individual or through saliva even when the person does not have open blisters. According to a study, it is proven that almost 90% of the adult population worldwide is infected with this virus.

Symptoms of Cold Sores

  • Cold sore outbreaks are characterized by the following symptoms,
  • Small and painful blisters
  • Sores or blisters around the lips or the edge of the mouth
  • Blisters under the nose
  • Tingling or burning sensation around the lip or nose before the blisters erupt
  • Bursting of blisters
  • Fluid oozing out of the blisters
  • Formation of crust over the sores

The normal healing time for the cold sores is a week or so. However, using simple home remedies can make it lesser painful by easing the discomfort.

Home Remedies for Cold Sores

1. Ice

Ice helps in reducing the swelling, redness and pain caused by a cold sore.


How to Use?

  • Wrap an ice cube in a clean washcloth
  • Place it over the cold sores for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Repeat this every three to four hours
2. Garlic

Garlic has strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agents that helps in treating cold sores. In addition to that it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation caused due to the outbreaks.


How to Use?

  • Cut a garlic clove into halves
  • Crush one-half and apply on the affected area
  • Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Repeat the process three to five times a day
3. Acetone Nail Polish Remover

This may sound bizarre but many people have tried and tested it on the cold sores and found it very effective. Acetone in the nail polish remover dries out the sores and promotes faster healing.


How to Use?

  • Dip a cotton ball in acetone nail polish remover
  • Dab it on the cold sores
  • Repeat this once in every hour to shred out the cold sore blisters
4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a great disinfectant and helps in drying out the cold sores.


How to Use?

  • Dip a cotton ball or cotton swab in 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • Apply it on the cold sores
  • Leave it on for a few minutes
  • Repeat this every few hours
5. Licorice Root

Licorice roots helps in preventing the cold sores and treats t effectively. It has an active ingredient called glycyrrhizin which ahs anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.


How to Use?

  • Mix one tablespoon of licorice root powder and one-half teaspoon of water
  • Apply it on the cold sore using a cotton swab or the fingertip
  • Leave it on for few hours
  • Wash it once it is dry
  • Repeat this process several times a day
  • Also, you may take licorice tea or supplements that are prevent o be beneficial in minimizing outbreaks
  • People with high blood pressure must avoid this remedy as it raises the blood pressure and leads to low levels of potassium
6. Lysine

Taking lysine on a regular basis helps in preventing cold sores according to a study. Its antiviral effects prevent the spreading of the infection any further. Lysine has amino acid that blocks the activity of another amino acid called arginine, which promotes replication of herpes simplex virus.


How to Use?

  • Take 1000 mg to 1500 mg L-Lysine supplements daily to help in keeping the Herpes virus dormant
  • Take 1000 mg of L-Lysine thrice a day during an outbreak
  • You may also use creams based on Lysine
  • However oral Lysine is considered to be more effective
  • Include meat, milk, yogurt, cheese, soybeans and other protein-rich food in the diet as they are natural sources of Lysine

The above home remedies have been found effective in controlling the severity of the cold sores. In case of frequent outbreaks, it is better to consult a doctor and start treatment as early as possible.

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