Best Cold Sore Treatments and Remedies

by SteveRogerson

A look at the best cold sore treatments and medicines and how to prevent cold sores appearing

Cold sore are the annoying and painful blisters that appear on the lips of those affected. They last for one to two weeks and are ugly. However, though no cure exists to stop them appearing totally, there are remedies that can stop a particular outbreak if treated promptly or for speeding up the healing process.

Cold sore
Cold sore

Cold sores are annoying. The little blister that appears on or around the lips is both painful and ugly. As they progress from sealed blisters to seeping blisters to very noticeable scabs, they are an irritant and can sap self confidence as people worry about going out and being seen with something like that on their face.

The most common form of cold sore is caused by the herpes simplex type one virus, and most people get it while young, maybe by being kissed by an infected relative. Older people are normally more wary about kissing someone with an obvious cold sore. However, they can also be caused by the herpes simplex type two virus. This is usually caught by having oral sex with someone who has genital herpes.


What Causes Cold Sores to Appear

For most of the time, someone infected with one of the cold sore viruses shows no symptoms. Some people never have symptoms, others have them very regularly, up to four or five times a year. Most infected people fall between these two limits.

The virus usually becomes active when the body is weakened and its own defences are busy dealing with other problems. Typically, having a cold, flu or other illness can lead to a cold sore becoming active. That is where the name comes from as they were for a long time considered another symptom of a cold rather than a problem in their own right.

Other people find themselves susceptible to cold sores when they are stressed or very tired, or even emotionally upset. Some women find they appear more often during their menstrual periods.


Treating Cold Sores and Cold Sore Medication

First, cold sores do not need to be treated. If left alone, they will work their way through their cycle and disappear between one and two weeks without leaving a scar.

There are creams that are available from chemists that can treat cold sores. If these are applied during the tingling feeling that precedes a cold sore, the cold sore may never appear. Even if the cold sore does appear, the cream can speed the recovery cycle. These creams contain either aciclovir or penciclovir. One of the best known brand names in Zovirax.

Cold sore patches contain a gel called hydrocolloid to help heal the wound and hide the cold sore during its most ugly period.

Also available are painkillers that, while not speeding the recovery, do make the cold sore less painful. There are specific creams available from chemists for this or normal painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be used.


Preventing Cold Sores

The best way to prevent cold sores occurring is to stay healthy. A good diet containing vitamins A, C and E will keep the immune system strong. Garlic too has antiviral properties that can help the immune system.

After touching a cold sore, hands should be washed thoroughly to prevent spreading the infection. It is also important to keep fingers away from eyes after touching a cold sore.

As with any medical problem, it is advisable to consult a doctor before trying a cure or remedy.

Updated: 07/03/2016, SteveRogerson
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