Cold sores are an unpredictable and annoying ailment. Fortunately, they don’t pose a serious risk to your health, but no one wants to be seen with this type of wound on their lip.
Cold sores appear as blisters — fluid filled pockets beneath the surface of the skin around the mouth or on the lips. They can break open, ooze, and crust over, lasting for around seven to 10 days. Those seven to 10 days can be brutal, but you may find comfort in home remedies and natural treatments.
About 90 percent of adults across the globe test positive for the virus that causes cold sores. Most of these people will likely never show symptoms, but some may deal with recurring breakouts.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), an infection that may cause only a single cold sore or an outbreak of several cold sores. Until a cold sore is scabbed or crusted, it’s extremely contagious and can even be spread to other parts of the body, including the eyes and genitals.
Once they arise, though, you usually will have more than one over the course of your life. Triggers can include:
A weakened immune system
Sudden temperature changes
The most common conventional treatments for cold sores are antiviral creams and oral medications, which can reduce the duration of cold sores by a few days but aren’t completely reliable. There are natural cold sore remedies, however, that are safe, inexpensive and effective in boosting the immune system, relieving pain and swelling, and reducing the duration and frequency of cold sores:
1. Rub garlic on the sore
It might seem strange, but it’s really very reasonable.
Garlic it possesses impressive antibiotic and antiviral powers. Thus, rubbing garlic over a cold sore blister is a highly effective solution.
Don’t worry if it stings at first – it won’t last long and you’ll get rid of that unsightly cold sore.
2. Supplement with Vitamin E
Vitamin E soothes the skin and may help to relieve pain and discomfort from cold sores. It repairs damaged skin, reduces inflammation and has antioxidant properties. (3)
Vitamin E can be taken as oral capsules, or you can boost your levels with vitamin E-rich foods, such as almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, sunflower seeds and olive oil.
3. Supplement with Vitamin C
Boost your white blood cell count with vitamin C, which helps defend your body against invaders. Take a vitamin C capsule to boost immunity and promote skin health — and, of course, heal cold sores. (4)
You can also eat vitamin C foods like oranges, red peppers, green peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit and kiwi.
4. Table salt and water
This method takes a bit more effort, but it’s very effective. As you know, salt is exceptional for healing, so don’t forget about it!
What should you do?
Place a pinch of salt on the tip of a wet finger.
Place your finger over the sore for two minutes.
Moisten a cotton ball in warm, salted water and press it to your lips for a few minutes.
Repeat this procedure until the sore heals.
And don’t forget:
Toss your toothbrush
Throw out your toothbrush after the blister has formed, and toss it once the sore has cleared up. A toothbrush is the perfect vessel to carry the virus, and you can end up triggering an outbreak in yourself if you re-use the same toothbrush again and again. This is a preventative measure, since it can stop an outbreak or cut it short, it’s well worth doing.