Cold sores are also called fever blisters or oral herpes. They appear around the lips after being exposed to a virus, the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). There are several stages of development: from an itchy and red bump to a blister with a crust on the ulcer.
Most cold sores disappear after 10 days, but once you had the virus, it does not go away. It stays dormant in your body until something triggers it again. Cold sores are very contagious and also very common. In this post, you’ll learn about the causes of cold sores and how to treat them naturally.
What is herpes?
Herpes is characterized by HSV1 and HSV2 commonly termed as (Herpes simplex virus 1 & 2). Herpes is a viral skin infection but it is classified on the basis of the site of infection. These types include Oral, Genital, cerebral, meningitis, neonatal or simply Herpes.
Fever blister or cold sores is the most common name for this type of herpes. Small blisters are developed around the face or mouth. These blisters around lips are strongly indicative of oral herpes.
It is simply referred as herpes. The main affected area of herpes is genital area. Painful blisters can develop here because of this herpes.
OTHER FORMS OF HERPES
The other types of herpes are mainly known by the name of encephalitis, herpes Whitlow, Neonatal Herpes and Bell’s palsy. These are very rare types of infections but if they are then they are very virulent in nature.
What could be the causes of cold sores?
Herpes transmits through direct contact.
Herpes is very infectious and once it enters the body it remains there. It stays in the nervous system though may be dormant. But chances are high that it might relapse.
The strain of herpes simplex virus usually responsible for cold sores is known as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). In rare cases, cold sores can also be caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). This can be the result of having oral sex with someone who has genital herpes.
Cold sores can be triggered by cold weather, stress, wind, sun, food allergies (especially nuts), or menstruation. Low thyroid function could have a link as well.
The incubation period for Herpes is between 2 to 20 days. In this time the Herpes develop from scabs to blisters and then later disappears. If you wonder how long a herpes outbreak lasts, read this post about herpes duration. In acute cases the infection can spread to eye.
There is no evident cure for Herpes, though after being resident in the body the virus becomes asymptomatic.
Which foods to eat if you have a cold sore?
People with cold sores can benefit from a diet high in lysine and low in arginine. In this chart, you’ll find a list of foods with their lysine-arginine ratios.
Boost your intake of lysine-rich foods, such as:
- fruit – apples, pears, figs
- veggies – beans, broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
Foods rich in L-Arginine (such as nuts, sesame, lentils, peas, sunflower seeds, oats, corn, barley, buckwheat, chocolate, and coconut) should be avoided.
Eat immune boosting foods. Increase your intake of probiotics such as yogurt, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, sauerkraut to boost the immune system naturally. Vegetables are also great sources of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can help you to fight off infections.
Do supplements help get rid of cold sores?
Supplements can increase immunity and are useful for treating herpes.
Here are some supplements that can help:
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids can prevent blisters from forming and speed healing.
- Probiotics and zinc strengthen the immune system.
- Vitamin A helps healing and get rid of cold sores.
- Vitamin E speeds healing and prevents scarring.
- Complex vitamin B if stress is a trigger to cold sores.
- Colloidal silver (internally and externally) is also one of the good remedies for cold sores.
Are there herbal home remedies for cold sores?
These herbs can help minimize outbreaks & speed the healing process:
- Lemon balm
- Aloe vera
- Licorice extract
Which essential oils can be used for external treatment?
- Lavender essential oil is topically antiseptic.
- Tea Tree is antibiotic and stimulates the immune system.
- Peppermint and lemon balm essential oils are also effective remedies.
What are the common homeopathic remedies for cold sores?
- Rhus toxidendron is one of the main homeopathic remedies for fever blisters.
- Natrum muriaticum and Graphitescan can also be used.
Other tips for cold sores
- Chill or application of ice packs on a blister stops it from getting aggravated.
- Your personal cleanliness and hygiene is important when prevention of herpes is taken into consideration. Washing hands with good antimicrobial soap is important before you have anything.
- Find an antibiotic soap with Tea tree oil. This oil contains ability to cure the sore blisters of herpes.
- Avoid direct contact with person who has Herpes. Remember Herpes skin infection spreads through direct contact.