Cold sores are commonly known as fever blisters. The most common reason for the development of cold sores is the herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1).
However, at times, the herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) can cause it. In the US, between 50 to 80 percent of individuals have oral herpes, which makes them potentially prone to cold sores.
There is no way to prevent or cure cold sores. However, some steps under the supervision of a dermatology specialist can be undertaken to decrease the frequency and duration of the outbreaks.
Compound medicines that are antimicrobial, antiviral, and immune-boosting are typically suitable for treating cold sores. Certain remedies help restrict the spread of the virus. Others decrease the possibility of future infections and reduce discomfort and pain.
Every treatment is not effective for each individual, but a wide array of natural products may help reduce symptoms and prevent future outbreaks.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides cutting-edge skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding communities.
- Lip balms with at least one percent lemon balm
- Lemon tea and lemon tea compresses
- Mint, witch hazel, and peppermint oil
- Aloe vera gel, which helps soothe inflamed sores while providing vital moisture
- Licorice root, which contains glycyrrhizic acid, is thought to be an antiviral. Licorice powder, mixed with petroleum jelly or water and directly applied to the sores.
- Echinacea as an immune booster, best taken in tea or supplement form. This is available for purchase online.
- Lysine cream or l-lysine supplements, as l-lysine may enhance the immune system and help in cell repair.
- Milk, which contains l-lysine and antibodies
- Cornstarch paste, made of equal parts starch and water
- Sage and rhubarb mixtures
Vitamin E aids the body in repairing compromised skin cells and growing new cells. This vitamin is found in foods such as nuts, whole wheat, and leafy greens. Vitamin E oils are available as well.
Vitamin C can enhance the levels of while cells, which are the body’s primary infection-fighting cells. Vitamin C-rich foods are usually orange, red, or deep green in color, including most berries, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and kiwis.
Over the counter (OTC) drugs are also available to treat the symptoms of cold sores. Many have child-friendly variants.
- Abreva and Zilactin, both available for purchase online, may help reduce the recovery time
- Anbesol and Orajel numb sores, reducing pain
- Zinc oxide creams applied to scabs may eliminate virus cells released from the sore
- Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol helps keep cold sores clean
- Pain and inflammation-reducing drugs such as ibuprofen can also be helpful
Individuals with cold sores should seek medical attention if the sores do not improve within a few weeks, if the sores continue to weep, or if the symptoms are severe.
In rare cases, complications from HSV-1 may occur. People who have weakened immune systems and those with frequent outbreaks should seek medical advice.
Complications may occur when the virus spreads to other body parts. For instance, the virus can spread to the fingertips (in the case of herpes whitlow), or eyes (in the case of herpes keratitis).
Anti-viral tablets and creams are some commonly prescribed treatments for cold sores. The British National Health Service (NHS) reports that creams are typically only effective if applied when the sores first manifest.
Prescribed cold sore medicines include:
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
- Acyclovir (Xerese, Zovirax)
- Penciclovir (Denavir)
- Famciclovir (Famvir)
Dr. Ewanowski’s dermatology practice and medical spa receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas for safe and proven skin care procedures.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.