You’ve most likely heard the phrase “cold sore” but didn’t actually know what it was or how it occurs.
Cold sore is small but painful blister caused by a virus. It is actually very common and at least 90% of people around the world has had some form of cold sore caused by a herpes simplex virus or HSV.
When you first contract cold sores, the symptoms can be pretty severe and they can make children seriously ill. Once your first experience with cold sores, your own body should develop antibodies and you’ll never have the infection again. However, there are people that aren’t that lucky and can get cold sores again.
Symptoms of cold sores
Blisters caused by this virus usually form outside your mouth or lips but it’s not uncommon that they form on your nose or cheeks.
Sometimes, it can take a couple of days (even 20 days after the infection) to develop symptoms and blisters usually form on or near where you’ve been infected. Every infection, usually goes through several common stages:
- Itching, tingling and even burning feeling
- A day or two after, blisters will start to form. The area becomes swollen, red and painful
- Once the blisters open, fluid will start coming out. This usually takes 2-3 days
- Once all the fluid is cleared, a scab forms on the sore which can crack and start to bleed
- The scab falls off
Other, not so common symptoms might include fever, swollen gums and glands in your neck and even muscle aches.
What can trigger a cold sore?
Cold sores are usually caused by the HSV1 virus but sometimes they can also be caused by the HSV2 virus. An outbreak of cold sores can be triggered by other things as well, such as:
- Weak immune system
- Other viral infection
- Dental work etc.
Cold sores do tend to heal and go away on their own after a few weeks. But some people experience quite frequent reoccurrence of cold sores, and we highly advise that they go see a doctor who will prescribe some antiviral medication, injections or lip cream.
There are also good natural ways you could either prevent cold sores or treat them once they do form. For example
- Since cold sores can have a burning sensation, you can soothe them by applying ice packs
- Sunburn cam be common triggers for cold sores. So, if you plan on spending time at the beach make sure that you protect yourself and use sunblock.
- Peppermint oil is also well-know in healing cold sores
- Propolis is also good in treating cold sores
- Lemon balm
- Vitamin C and Vitamin E are both known to inactivate the HSV virus and they also boost your immune system