For many people, managing cold sores is an unfortunate reality of life. When cold sores flare up on the lips, it can be painful and cause feelings of embarrassment. With the right home remedies for reducing swelling and pain, you can get rid of a cold sore faster and prevent further outbreaks.
About Cold Sores
Cold sores are also called fever blisters and they are sores that form on the lips due to a viral infection. As fluid-filled blisters, cold sores will reach a breaking point where they burst, releasing the fluid. As part of the healing process, the sore crusts over forming a scab. Eventually the entire sore heals itself, leaving no scar. The entire outbreak typically lasts between 2-4 weeks depending on the person.1
Cold sores are caused on by a viral infection from the herpes simplex virus. Typically, cold sores are from one strain of herpes called herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1). However, some people can develop cold sores due to the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2), which is the cause of genital herpes.1
The herpes virus can only be transmitted from person to person through skin contact. This occurs when an infected person comes into contact with a non-infected person through kissing or sharing personal items like utensils, toothbrushes or towels. A person infected with genital herpes can pass the HSV2 virus to a non-infected person’s mouth through oral sex, causing cold sores. Vice-versa, a person with a cold sore caused by the HSV1 virus can pass the virus to a non-infected person’s genitals through oral sex.1
There is a higher risk of contracting the herpes virus and developing a cold sore when you come into contact with someone during the fluid-oozing phase of the outbreak. Once infected with your first outbreak, the virus lies dormant in the skin’s nerve cells, potentially being triggered again at another point.1,2
Top Natural Remedies for Cold Sores
Most people who are used to getting cold sores know that eventually they will pass so they may not treat them. However, natural home remedies for treating cold sores are safe and can help ease the healing process by reducing pain and inflammation. Other natural remedies for getting rid of a cold sore actually strengthen the immune system to prevent future outbreaks.
The top natural remedies for getting rid of a cold sore include:
Tea Tree Oil - Tea tree oil is a natural skin astringent that helps to heal damaged skin and is safe to use for reducing inflammation and alleviating pain.
Garlic - Garlic has potent anti-viral properties that help elevate the body’s immune system, allowing you to recover quicker from a cold sore outbreak.
L-Lysine - L-Lysine is an amino acid known for helping the body to heal a herpes virus outbreak, including cold sores.
Salt - As a natural drying agent, salt applied to a cold sore can help to dry out the sore faster, resulting in quicker healing. But be careful, as applying salt to an open wound can be quite painful.
Peroxide - Similar to salt, peroxide helps to dry out the cold sore, encouraging it to heal faster. Drying out a cold sore also reduces inflammation and can reduce the painful sensation.