What Causes Cold Sores And How To Treat Them

cold soresFew adults and teenagers will have escaped from suffering the embarrassment and discomfort of  cold sores. These unpleasant blisters and scabs that appear on the lips and adjacent skin are unsightly, difficult to cure and quite painful. In many cases the sufferer will experience a loss of confidence until the sore disappears.

Causes of Cold Sores

Caused by a virus known as the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV1) that almost every human carries, cold sores are also known as ‘oral herpes’ or ‘fever blisters’.
Contrary to common belief cold sores are not solely caused, or are a result of catching a common cold.
Among other causes are sun wind burn, nervous tension and anxiety attacks, digestive disorders and acidic saliva, allergies and various infections.

Early Signs of Cold Sores

Early signs are an increased sensitivity on an area of the lips that will develop within a few hours, more often overnight, into a clear blister lasting for several days before bursting and leaving an unpleasant crusty scab.

The scab normally lasts for about a week before healing and leaving no visible sign of its presence. Despite the irritating itching and minor pain it is important not to fall for the temptation of scratching or otherwise interfering with the scab. If you do so it is likely that you will be left with an unsightly scar.

The HSV1 Virus is easy to spread and sufferers frequently find that as one cold sore goes so another arrives. At other times there may be an interval of months or even years before it strikes again but it seems that once there has been an infection there is every possibility that it will reoccur throughout a lifetime.

Cold Sore Treatment

There is no known prevention and it is virtually impossible to remove but, at the very first signs of an irritant on the lip surface, the application of a proprietary ointment can lessen the size and duration of the infection or even stop the development of the blister.

Many consider that diet plays an important role in hastening the removal of a cold sore as acidic saliva may have caused the outbreak in the first place. Acidic saliva is a result of eating an excess of red meats, nuts and other high protein foods.

White meat, fish, beans and dairy products are rich in lysine, an amino acid that is essential to human health but cannot be manufactured in the human body. Among its many important functions is the prevention and healing of cold sores. Lysine is available as a supplement but should not be taken without qualified medical advice.

Preventing sunburn can help because if you don’t take care your skin will suffer and so may your lips, resulting in cold sores.

Apart from effective proprietary brands of ointments there are some natural home treatments that can speed healing.

Tea tree oil with sage, apple cider vinegar, vitamin e oil and even a cold used tea bag can sooth and encourage a return to normality.

On a final note do not be concerned by the use of the term ‘herpes’. Oral Herpes is a minor ailment that is not life threatening but oral sex should be avoided when suffering from cold sores. Genital Herpes (HSV2) is a sexually transmitted disease for which there is no known cure.

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Category: Skin Problems

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