If you suffer from Cold Sores, you are aware that it involves periods of active infection and periods when it is dormant. The virus often stays in the body. Cold sores appear for about two weeks and are contagious. There are various oral and topical medications available for this(1). There are also a handful of natural home remedies for cold sores which have been proved to be beneficial and useful for its cure.
Home Remedies For Cold Sores
1. Basic Antiviral Medicines
There are various over the counter medicines available which are used safely. Medication containing benzyl alcohol or docosanol is found to decrease the span of the cold sore. Lysine is available as both – an ointment and capsule and is believed to shorten the duration of the outbreaks. However, any medication should be taken in consultation with a doctor.
The oral medicines will give you best results if you take it as soon as you notice the first symptoms such as tingling or burning sensation.
The ointments available have to be used more often to yield results. Antiviral medicines like lysine, famciclovir, and valacyclovir help shorten the duration of cold sores. Antiviral medicines like valacyclovir and acyclovir could help in preventing cold sores if taken regularly.
If you take the prescribed drugs famciclovir and valacyclovir for a single day, it will reduce the span of cold sores by one or two days. If you take antiviral medicines like valacyclovir and acyclovir daily, it reduces the chances of the outbreaks by one-third. You have to apply ointments a few times in a day for five days to benefit from them.
2. Lemon Balm
You could benefit by using lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis) as a home remedy for cold sores. It is used for topical application, as tea or as a compress which helps to reduce the swelling and redness of the sores. It might even help to reduce the chances of a future outbreak.
There are many ways you could use lemon balm as a home remedies for cold sores. You could use a lip balm which consists of at least 1% lemon balm. Alternatively, you could use a compress made of lemon balm mixture. You could also prepare it by soaking lemon balm tea in hot water for 10 minutes or try lemon balm tinctures.
You could use 2 to 3 ml of the tincture in water thrice daily and continue taking it till 1 or 2 days after the symptoms subside. As for tea, you could enjoy this drink several times a day.
[Also Read: How to Get Rid for Cold Sores]
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a very useful plant that can be grown in your house. It has excellent medicinal value. Though there is less research about its use for cold sores, a 2016 study says that the antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of this plant can have restraining effects on cold sores.
You could use aloe vera as a home remedy for cold sores either as lip balm or as a gel for topical application. While choosing an aloe vera product from the market, you should be careful to buy only 100% pure aloe vera.
You could apply aloe vera gel or lip balm thrice daily until your blisters dry. Alternatively, you could use diluted apple cider vinegar for cold sores when they reach the scabbing stage. They could prove helpful in removing the dead skin.
This is one of the most natural among all the home remedies for cold sores. It gives you temporary relief from the burning sensation and numbs your pain. It does not help to reduce the span of sores but helps to get some relief from the symptoms.
You can use ice packs on the cold sores. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin as it might cause damage. Hence, ice packs or cold compress is a better option when you want to use ice.
Ice packs do not have any side effects, so you can use it several times a day.
Sunscreen is a very simple and easy home remedy for your cold sores. Firstly, it protects your lips during the healing of cold sores. Secondly, if used daily on the lips, it could also help in preventing future outbreaks. The sun acts as a significant trigger for cold sores. The lips do not have melanin and are significantly affected by the UV rays. The best solution for this is the regular use of sunscreen balms.
You should choose a sunscreen with SPF30. You could choose natural and organic sunscreens to avoid ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc.
Apply sunscreen whenever you go out in the sun.
[Also Read: Essential Oils For Cold Sores ]
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). So, it can be safely used as a home remedies for cold sores. It helps to reduce pain and other symptoms associated with cold sores like fever, swelling, etc.
You could take Ibuprofen as prescribed by the doctor. It is essential to follow the instructions given by the doctor or as mentioned on the product label. You should also check for ingredients when trying a product.
You could take this medicine orally with 8 ounces of water every 4 to 6 hours. You should strictly follow the dosage advised by the package label or the doctor. Overdose of ibuprofen may cause side effects.
7. Stress Reduction
Stress might work as one of the triggers for cold sores. Excess stress might result in an outbreak of the dormant virus. Dealing with stress is one of the critical factors in maintaining overall health. Stay away from unreasonable stress.
Eating healthy food, getting adequate sleep, and moderate exercise could help you deal with stress. Avoid alcohol, smoking, drugs, and food that add to stress. You could try yoga, meditation, and regular exercise as home remedies for cold sores.
A healthy lifestyle will help you avoid and deal with stress.
Cold sores are contagious, and hence, you should take a few precautions when you are suffering from it. Some preventive measures are to avoid touching the area, wash your hands often, avoid skin contact with others, avoid the triggers, etc. You should consult a dermatologist if cold sores worsen or do not subside in 15 days. There are various medications which can be used for the treatment of cold sores. You could also make use of the natural home remedies which can help shorten the duration and sometimes even prevent future outbreaks.
1. What are the causes of cold sores?
The virus herpes Simplexcauses Cold Sores. Herpes simplex 1, HSV-1 result in cold sores and herpes simplex 2, HSV-2 generally causes genital herpes. Once the virus enters the body, there could either be an active infection or have dormant phases. Various factors act as triggers like hormonal changes, fever, stress, sunlight, etc. The cold sores are contagious and get transmitted easily.
2. How to prevent cold sores?
You cannot for sure avoid cold sores, but you can take a few precautions to minimize it. You should learn to recognize the early symptoms, keep antiviral medications at home, find out about your triggers, and try using simple and natural home remedies for cold sore.
3. What are the other treatment options for cold sores?
You could use the various natural home remedies for cold sores. You can also try some unique treatments like baking soda, honey, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil for cold sores, and even toothpaste on cold sores.