Cold Sore Remedy Tips

Sometimes--usually at the exact wrong time--you start to feel that tingle that tells you a cold sore is coming on. While you may not be able to prevent it from forming, here are few cold sore remedy tips that may help.

Cold sore remedy:
To keep cold sores at bay, or to hasten the healing process, try the following:

  • As soon as the tingling begins, hold an ice cube to the area. This often keeps the sore from "breaking out" and keeps it from becoming a much larger outbreak.
  • Dab red wine directly onto the cold sore several times a day. A component in the grape skin is credited as being the helper in this instance. Red wine also works to relieve dry, chapped lips.
  • To eliminate the pain: Press a warm tea bag against a cold sore, or apply witch hazel directly to the blister.
  • Contact your physician for a medication, such as Valtrex, that can be taken at the onset of the infection. If medication is not available, toothpaste can be dabbed on the spot. The toothpaste will dry the cold sore, but it has the tendency to burn.
  • Keep a food diary. If you discover certain foods seem to bring about an outbreak, avoid those foods. Some culprits that seem to make cold sore breakouts worse include nuts, especially peanuts and peanut butter, also onions, chocolate, raisins, cereal grains, seeds, gelatin and carob.
  • Eat foods high in lysine, such as salads, soy products, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, milk, potatoes and lima beans.
  • Eliminate wheat from your diet.
  • Ask your doctor about Lysine tablets and/or garlic tablets.
  • Keep your immune system healthy by following a balanced diet and getting plenty of rest and relaxation.
  • Practice healthy hand-washing procedures.

To avoid re-infection:

  • Toss lip balm, lipstick or any other makeup product that has come in contract with a cold sore.
  • Purchase a new toothbrush and toss the old one.
  • Throw out all disposable razors.
  • Wash all towels and washcloths.
  • Disinfect the bathroom, keyboard and all surfaces you may have touched with your hands. Even if you know you were careful with hand-washing, it's better to be safe than sorry.

When in doubt about the procedures used in eliminating cold sores, contact a physician. HSV-1 can be dangerous. HSV-1 that gets into the eyes can lead to blindness and there is some indication that a cold sore sufferer may have a compromised thyroid. HSV-1 also can be transmitted to newborn babies and cause a potentially dangerous disease called neonatal herpes.

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1), commonly known as a "cold sore" or a "fever blister," is an unsightly sore that appears on the edges of the mouth or on the lips (occasionally on the inside of the nose or inside of the mouth, rarely "around the mouth area," such as the chin or near the eyes). Though scientists have not yet discovered a means of eliminating cold sores completely, after much research and experimentation, several methods of healing the infection more quickly or keeping the virus dormant have surfaced.

How contagious is a cold sore?
Cold sores, like many viruses, are highly contagious. The infection is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact, as well as on personal items such as towels, combs, eating utensils and drinking glasses or basically anything the infected person has touched. Therefore, it is imperative that cold sore sufferers understand the importance of hand washing, not sharing personal items and avoiding kissing during an outbreak.

Symptoms:

  • Tingly spot
  • Itchy or burning feeling
  • A painful blister that appears on the spot
  • The blister forms a yellow scab
  • The scab peels off, leaving healed pink skin beneath (if the scab is picked off too soon, the sore will bleed and take longer to heal)
  • A recurring cold sore often returns to the same spot.

Statistics:

  • By the age of 10, approximately 30-60 percent of all children have been infected with the HSV-1.
  • By the age of 50, 80-90 percent of the population will carry the virus.
  • About 25 percent of the population infected with HSV-1 does not exhibit symptoms.
  • HSV-1 can also be transmitted to other areas of the body such as the eyes, fingers and genital area.

Recurrent outbreaks of HSV-1 can be linked to certain issues going on in the body, especially stress. Overexposure to the sun also plays a big part in recurrent outbreaks, as does menstruation, skin trauma (bumping your lip or a paper cut), fever, and dry or chapped lips. Always wear a protective lip balm, and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Additionally, any time the body's immune system is weakened, such as with the simple cold, the virus can rear its ugly head. Hence the name "cold" sore.

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