How to Treat Cold Sores

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How to Treat Cold Sores

Learn all about cold sores here. Cold sores are a form of the herpes virus that appear around the mouth and lips. You can treat them with prescription medications and topical ointments.

  • What are cold sores?
  • How to treat cold sores
  • I Have a Cold Sore. Help!
    Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both virus types can cause lip and mouth sores and genital herpes.

    The majority of people carry HSV-1 or HSV-2, but not all of them develop symptoms. Approximately 8 out of 10 people carry a type of HSV. HSV-1 usually occurs early in life and is often spread from mother to child. The virus lies dormant inside the body until something causes it to become active. Some people experience their first outbreak in childhood or as a teenager, while some people never show any symptoms.

    Infectious disease, fever, or stress can bring about a cold sore outbreak. Other possible causes of outbreaks include sunlight, menstruation, wind, excitement, fatigue, or injury to the affected area. There is no known cure for the herpes virus, but there are effective treatments. As people age the severity and frequency of outbreaks generally declines.

    Outbreaks usually last 10-14 days. During this time sufferers should avoid sharing drinks, towels, or anything else that touches the mouth with others. Kissing and any transfer of saliva should also be avoided.

    In time, you'll learn how your body responds to HSV. You may experience a sore throat, fever, mouth irritation or swollen glands be just before an outbreak. When you start experiencing these symptoms, you can begin taking Vitamin C and a Lysine supplement, or a prescribed oral antiviral. You can also use a topical cream or ointment like abreva when you begin noticing symptoms.

    Cold Sore Treatment Methods:

  • To prevent an outbreak, take a daily Lysine supplement.
  • Avoid touching the area.
  • Keep the area moist and clean. An antiseptic mouth rinse will be helpful to reduce pain. Rinse your mouth often. Solutions that contain baking soda will be especially helpful.
  • Wear lip-balm with sunscreen to protect the area from sun exposure. Sun prolongs outbreaks.
  • Minimize stress and emotional tension.
  • Aspirin or other pain relievers can ease the pain and reduce inflammation. Icing the area works wonders too.
  • Abreva shortens the healing time and duration of outbreaks. It is definitely worth a try.
  • Avoid contact (especially sexual contact) with the area. Even barrier methods may not be entirely effective. Use a condom during any sex.
  • Avoid eating spicy and acidic foods (like fruits or tomatoes), as they can cause discomfort.

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