What To Do About Cold Sores

Kiss Goodbye To Cold Sores

Read Time: 3 minutes

A cold sore or fever blister is an inflamed, fluid-filled blister which occurs on or near the lips. A cold sore is a very common viral infection and is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HVS1). Cold sore blisters are often grouped together in small patches. Once the blisters have broken, a hard crust forms over the sore. Cold sores are contagious even if the blisters cannot be seen.

How long do cold sores last?

Cold sores will usually heal by themselves within 2-3 weeks. There is no cure for cold sores. The blisters may return, particularly if a person’s immune system is compromised or during times of stress. Antiviral medications can help cold sores heal quicker and may reduce reoccurrence.

The common cold sore

Although many people are embarrassed by cold sores, the HVS1 virus is very common. In fact, around 70% of people in the US have been infected by the virus. Only a small percentage of those infected will develop cold sores. This is because those people don’t have an immunologic system that can deal with the virus. What many people don’t know is that the virus can be spread by a person who has the virus but may not have cold sores. The virus can be spread by kissing, drinking from the same glass, or sharing a toothbrush.

Helping cold sores heal

Using antiviral cream can reduce the healing time by 1-2 days. If the cream is applied at the first sign of a cold sore (usually a tingling sensation) and then every two hours, this can speed recovery time by several days.

Some people find relief from cold sores by using herbal remedies. The most effective ones include aloe vera and lemon balm. Sometimes applying ice can ease the discomfort of cold sores.

Don’t share cold sores

Cold sores are very easily spread. To avoid spreading the HSV1 virus, do not pick or scratch cold sores, avoid sharing drinks, toothbrushes, towels, or lip products, and avoid kissing when sores are present. People who experience cold sores frequently should consult a physician who may prescribe an antiviral medication to be taken on a regular basis.

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