Cold sores (herpes labialis) – the symptom of an infection with the herpes simplex virus type I – the vernacular also called fever blisters.
Herpes – annoying suffering that many know from their own experience.
In Today’s Article, We Will Discuss “What Is Cold Sore & How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore Fast Overnight”
Table Of Contents
- What Is A Cold Sore
- Cold Sore Causes
- Diseases Or Drugs
- Cold Sore Symptoms
- Cold Sores Treatment
- Diagnosis Of Cold Sores
- Cold Sore Therapy
- Cold Sore Prevention
- Home Remedies Better Than Medicines
- Home Remedies For Cold Sores Always An Alternative
- Which Home Remedies For Cold Sores
- Honey For Cold Sores
- Tea Tree Oil For Cold Sores
- Zinc And Toothpaste For Cold Sores
- Lemon Balm For Cold Sores
- Other Remedies For Cold Sores
What Is A Cold Sore (HSV simplex virus)?
Many people know the painful little blisters on the lip: The vernacular refers to the symptoms of infection with viruses from the herpes family in the area of the lips and nose or in or around the mouth as a fever blisters or cold sores.
There, the virus infection is most common, but also fingernail, eye or buttocks can be affected for example. Responsible for the unpleasant itchy, achy and weeping blisters is usually the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV type 1). Up to 90 percent of adults carry antibodies against HSV type 1 in their blood, so they have already come into contact with the virus.
The initial infection with the virus usually happens unnoticed and often before the age of six. Many virus carriers are not bothered by the annoying bubbles throughout their lives. But for 20 to 30 percent of those infected, cold sores are a recurring nuisance.
It particularly applies to persons whose endogenous defense system is temporarily or permanently restricted (for example, after surgery, cancer, blood disorders, the use of drugs that suppress the immune system, or HIV infection).
Starting from the upper skin layer where the virus causes the blisters, it migrates inward along the nerve fibers to the nerve cells in the spinal cord, nests there and unnoticed remains in a kind of rest mode, sometimes over many years until the first outbreak then the others can follow. That means nobody can be immune to fever blisters forever. But our defense system can keep the virus at clean.
Small consolation:- From a statistical point of view, cold sores appear less and less often with increasing age. The related herpes simplex virus type 2 affects especially the genitals and causes the so-called genital herpes. About 15 to 25 percent (the figures vary) of the adults already had contact with the type 2 variant. Also, this type of virus can be kidnapped by contact with the genitals in the mouth and lip area.
Natural selection shaped the human brain to be drawn toward aspects of nature that enhance our survival and reproduction, like verdant landscapes and docile creatures. There is no payoff to getting the warm fuzzies in the presence of rats, snakes, mosquitoes, cockroaches, herpes simplex and the rabies virus.
Cold Sore Causes
The actual cause for cold sores is the infection with the viruses over saliva or close skin contact, by:-
- Droplet infection (coughing, sneezing, speaking)
- Smear infection (for example sharing of cutlery, glasses)
- Direct skin and mucous membrane contacts (kissing, touching the blisters, sexual intercourse)
- The sensitive skin of the lips is particularly prone to infection. The virus resting in the Nerve cells (see overview) may become active again under certain conditions.
- Responsible for the later reactivation of dormant herpes viruses include disorders of the body’s immune system. Some typical triggers for the appearance of the bubbles.
- Infectious diseases or fever (hence the term “fever blisters”)
- Strong sunlight (leads to the suppression of the immune cells of the skin)
- Mental stress (stress, sadness, fears, fatigue)
- Hormonal change (in women during menstruation or in pregnancy.
Diseases Or Drugs That Reduce The Immune System
The reactivated viruses migrate along the nerve tracts, but this time from the nerve cells towards the skin surface (see overview). The bubbling begins. Many years can pass between infection and first appearance.
Cold Sore Symptoms
A Even before the first blister bulges on the lips, some sufferers feel at this point a sensitivity, a slight burning sensation, a feeling of tension or tingling. This can last a few hours or a whole day. If the disease is to be stopped, antivirals must already be applied or even taken as a gel or cream.
B But you do not always notice a beginning cold sore sometimes it forms even without warning within hours or overnight. At first appearance, the lymph nodes in the affected area usually swell painfully.
C The bubbles quickly fill with clear liquid and burst after a few days. A small, sensitive wound remains behind, but after a short time it turns yellowish and heals itself after a total of eight to fourteen days. As long as the blisters are not covered with the scab, other people can become infected by touching them.
D Occasionally, a general feeling of sickness and fatigue associated with the disease. The bubbles can also spread on the cheeks, the nose, the earlobes and in the eye area. Finally, cold sores may also appear in the form of oral rot. The signs are, among other things, ulcerated decaying blisters in the mouth that cause severe pain and high fever. If food intake is no longer possible, it must be admitted to the hospital.
Complications And Cold Sores Treatment
Generally, the symptoms of a herpes simplex infection are uncomfortable, but usually not dangerous. But there are exceptions. Especially with certain risk groups with a weakened immune system (for example, in HIV patients, patients undergoing chemotherapy, newborns) can develop from a harmless herpes infection sometimes life-threatening complications. Some cases:
1– Scratching can cause disease with bacteria such as staphylococci or streptococci, which can lead to purulent wound infections
2– In atopic dermatitis patients, the cold sores on the skin damaged by eczema may spread, so that large parts of the surface or even the whole body may be affected (eczema). Infestation with bacteria often occurs also. The patients are seriously ill. There is a risk of herpes encephalitis (see below)
3– Patients with weakened immune systems may experience severe disease and pneumonia.
4– The herpes inflammation of the brain (herpes encephalitis) is a life-threatening complication if it is not detected and treated quickly.
5– Eye involvement can affect the cornea (herpes cornea), which can lead to visual acuity or permanent ulcers with scarring of the cornea.
Diagnosis Of Cold Sores
Experienced doctors usually recognize the typical fever blisters at first glance and based on the descriptions of the patient. The family or pediatrician or a doctor for skin and venereal diseases are the first points of contact for pregnant women and genital disorders of the gynecologist.
If there are any ambiguities because the symptoms occur in atypical areas, an examination of the blister contents or a smear of the skin or mucous membrane helps. Sometimes it makes sense to determine the virus type.
Cold Sore Therapy
A If the disease is noticeable or the blisters are already visible, only the healing process can be accelerated, and the symptoms can be alleviated. If affected persons do not do anything, the bubbles will disappear after about two weeks.
B Gels with zinc sulfate or disinfectant additives help to dry out the bubbles faster and thus promote healing. As a home remedy, many swear by toothpaste, healing earth or lemon balm extract, which, however, at best has a drying effect.
C Medicines that inhibit the proliferation of viruses shorten the healing time. However, antiviral gels and creams only work well if they are consistently applied at the first sign of herpes. Infections that are not active and dormant in nerve cells cannot be affected by the ointment. If the disease is treated locally often, it can lead to resistance. Then appropriate testing is required.
In severe cases and the risk of further spread, antiviral agents in the form of juice, tablets or short infusions must be given.
Cold Sore Prevention
The risk of suffering from cold sores can be reduced by preventive measures, but there is no vaccine or the ability to eradicate the viruses that are found in the body. A vaccine has been working for years, but unlike chickenpox, it is not yet available.
Patients who take medications that suppress the immune system or cancer patients during chemotherapy usually receive concomitant and preventive acyclovir or valaciclovir tablets. If you consider how the viruses are transmitted and how they are later reactivated in the body, the most critical prevention measures are already available:
1– Although surviving herpes viruses outside the body for a brief time, experts advise, as a precaution, not to use the same towels, napkins, lipsticks, glasses or cutlery with acutely ill patients.
2– The content of the bubbles is infectious. Anyone who touches them or even scratches them can spread the virus on their bodies with their fingers, for example, into the eyes or the genital area. Therefore: Finger off and after applying anti-virus ointment; we wash and disinfect hands. Even better, use a clean cotton swab to apply gels, creams or tinctures.
3– Especially your fingers are a dangerous virus transmitter. Therefore: Do not chew on the fingernails during the illness. Above all, do not rub your eyes and do not use contact lenses with saliva in your eyes. If herpes viruses get into the eyes, in the worst case this can lead to damage to the cornea. Tip: It is best to wear glasses during the illness.
4– Because the herpes virus can also be transmitted through direct skin contact: appropriate sports such as wrestling, judo avoid.
5– Individuals who have a cold sore should refrain from kissing and oral sex because the viruses can be transmitted this way – even on the genitals.
6– Special care should be taken in acute illness against infants and toddlers or old, frail people: If you have a cold sore, skin contact should be avoided, which unfortunately includes the good night kiss.
7– In rare cases, a pregnant woman may transmit the virus in the womb to her unborn child. Therefore, herpes viruses should not get into their genital area at this time. Because the responsibility for the cold sore herpes simplex virus type 1, like the genital herpes type-2 sometimes cause a herpes infection there.
- At birth, the infant could get infected with it, which can lead to severe complications.
- To avoid this, physicians recommend a cesarean section in acute illness immediately before birth.
- In herpes carriers with regular occurrence of blisters in the genital area, preventive therapy should be done from the 36th week.
- Even after birth, people who have a cold sore should not touch the newborn with their hands or lick their pacifier, as in the worst case, an infection with the virus can lead to encephalitis with lasting damage.
8– No sunbathing and if so, then protected accordingly. For lips and mouth, there are only Sun blockers with high SPF.
9– An intact immune system is a good protection against recurrent fever blister attacks. A balanced diet, moderate sports, sufficient sleep and the absence of too much alcohol and cigarettes contribute to this.
10– Psychological burdens can be dealt with on demand with professional support or care. And some stress that you know to increase your own bladder risk can easily be avoided.
Home Remedies For Cold Sores
There are some Home remedies for Cold Sore (herpes), but many have not proven an effect adequately. However, herpes does not necessarily have to be treated with antiviral drugs, sometimes tea tree oil or honey do. Read here which herpes home remedies help.
Home Remedies For Cold Sores: ( herpes ) – Description
Home remedies for herpes are not counted among the classic drugs and are not prescription. Some have long been known to be effective against various pathogens – though this is based on experience rather than scientific evidence.
Are Home Remedies For Cold Sores Better Than Medicines?
A The question is whether classic drugs or home remedies for cold sores are better? Cannot be answered flat rate. However, many of the herpes home remedies are still no sufficient data that can prove their effectiveness scientifically. Its efficacy, also known as antivirals, has been tested in clinical trials.
B But that does not mean home remedies have no value. Often they contain agents that help against pathogens such as herpes viruses, alone the missing data to do so.
C Nevertheless, a herpes outbreak cannot be prevented, regardless of whether herpes home remedies or antivirals are used. As a rule, they only reduce the duration of the illness and reduce the symptoms. For both, the sooner they are used, the better the effect. If a herpes outbreak is already in full swing, home remedies are almost impossible to achieve.
Are Home Remedies For Cold Sores Always An Alternative?
Home remedies for Cold sores on the lip or nose, possibly also in the genital area are sometimes quite useful alternatives to drugs. Because these herpes variants are usually harmless. Under certain circumstances, however, there are complications such as herpes (eczema) occurring all over the body or herpes encephalitis caused by herpes.
Here, the use of antivirals is indispensable – because the drug has to enter the bloodstream quickly and from there into the organs.
Which Home Remedies For Cold Sores?
In the following, for example, only the best known of the numerous home remedies are presented in detail.
Honey For Cold Sores
A Many people are already on the breakfast table, a home remedy for herpes. Honey contains so-called antimicrobial substances, i.e., those that kill bacteria and viruses and prevent their reproduction. As soon as the disease becomes apparent, some honey can be given to the affected area. Because it closes the vacancies, it reduces the external spread of viruses and thus the risk of infection.
B Particularly useful should be Manuka honey, which is mainly obtained in New Zealand from the flowers of the South Sea myrtle. The responsible, active substance is methylglyoxal. Manuka honey is not approved as a finished drug, but available as a prescription in the pharmacy. Also, it is sold in exclusive shops as food.
C Another substance that is produced by bees and has an antimicrobial effect is propolis. However, the potency of the substance mixture also referred to as a cementing resin can vary widely. The composition of propolis depends on various factors, such as the bee species, the season and the region. Propolis is not officially approved as a medicine but is sold as a dietary supplement or cosmetic.
Tea Tree Oil For Cold Sores
A The South Sea myrtle is closely related to the Australian tea tree, whose oil also has an antimicrobial effect. Before the breakthrough of antibiotics, it was part of all first aid kits in the tropics-based Australian forces. Because already in the late 18th century, one knew the disinfecting effect of tea tree oil.
B Herpes is most effectively combated when it is applied to the affected area as early as possible and best hourly. The skin absorbs the oil well, and the viruses are prevented from reproducing.
C Some sufferers report that the early application of the substance, even with the first symptoms such as itching or tingling, prevent even an outbreak of herpes. However, tea tree oil is also considered to be the trigger of so-called contact dermatitis, i.e., dermatitis caused by contact with certain irritants.
Undiluted tea tree oil is even classified as harmful to health. Therefore, this home remedy for herpes should always be used only after consultation with a pharmacist.
Zinc And Toothpaste For Cold Sores
The benefit of toothpaste in Cold Sores is quite controversial. Some swear that the herpes outbreak is prevented or at least mitigated by the application of toothpaste.
Critics, on the other hand, advise against using it for herpes. In fact, toothpaste also contains irritating substances that may cause further damage to the skin affected by the virus. Besides, many pastes have no healing effect at all, because the result of toothpaste on herpes is due to zinc, which is only found in some varieties.
Because it has an anti-inflammatory effect, the symptoms can be alleviated even when using zinc for herpes, where it hardly aligns anything against the virus itself, because its disinfecting effect is directed primarily against bacteria.
Nevertheless, zinc ointment is used successfully against herpes because it has a drying effect and has a positive impact on the weeping cold sores. So instead of toothpaste, you better reach for the zinc ointment.
Herpes is then treated directly with the active substance, which is also responsible for the positive effects in toothpaste but without being exposed to the irritant substances of the paste.
Lemon Balm For Cold Sores
For centuries, lemon balm has been considered a valuable home remedy, including herpes. Fact is that it is one of the few home remedies in which efficacy has been proven in studies to date. Certain active substances in the medicinal plant prevent the herpes viruses from penetrating the body cells.
For example, many patients report that after application of lemon balm to the affected areas, they recover in a few days or even hours. Swelling and redness allegedly go back significantly. Ointments and creams with lemon balm extract are available in every pharmacy.
Other Home Remedies For Cold Sores
There are many more products/natural remedies that are considered cold sores home remedies. So allegedly also Aloe vera, garlic, black tea or ginger to help against herpes. However, it is advisable to ask before using home remedies in the pharmacy or at a doctor. Because some medications can be harmful if misused.
For example, Ice cubes which are kept wrapped in a cloth on the herpes site, may be useful in the early levels of the disease and make the virus proliferation difficult. But if the outbreak is already in full swing, the cooling no longer causes any damage but may harm the skin.
Even high-percentage alcohol has a cooling and disinfecting effect, but it burns heavily when open spots on the surface are caused by herpes.
What Is Generally To Be Considered In The Application?
No matter which home remedy for cold sores you choose, you should make sure that there is no further spread of the virus. It is best to apply the particular substance to a cotton swab and distribute it to the affected area. The cotton swab is thrown away after a single use. Then wash your hands thoroughly.
If you pay attention to hygiene and inform yourself in advance about the use of substances, you can use the right natural home remedy for cold sores.
This article contains only general information and should not be used for self-diagnosis. We do not substitute, please visit the doctor if you are in problem.