If you are suffering from a cold sore, you may be frantically searching for natural cold sore remedies to bring some relief. While there is no cure for them, natural cold sore remedies can often help shorten the duration and pain associated with them.
What is a Cold Sore?
A cold sore appears as an inflamed region near or in the mouth that is raised and painful. Often confused for bad acne, cold sores can last for several weeks (if it lasts longer than two weeks, see a doctor).
Cold sores can be tiny or found in large patches, often grouped together. And in case you didn’t know—they hurt. A lot.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cold Sore?
Cold sore symptoms may start before you see the sore form. Your skin may feel itchy or tingly and you may have some slight burning in the area a day or two beforehand.
Once cold sores form they are often found around or in the mouth. They can even show up near the nose and cheeks, where small, red fluid-filled blisters form. As they pop and ooze, they form a crust over the area.
Cold sores can also cause other symptoms, particularly the first time you get one. This includes fever, painful gums, sore throat, headache, aches, and swollen lymph nodes to name a few. These uncomfortable symptoms can certainly leave you searching for natural cold sore remedies to help relieve the pain!
What Causes Cold Sores?
If you have heard that cold sores are a type of herpes, you didn’t get completely false information. However, don’t panic! There are some major key differences in play.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). While similar to the herpes simplex virus HSV-2 which causes genital herpes, it is different. HSV-1 usually causes cold sores near the mouth, and you can get them without any sexual contact.
There are a variety of things that may trigger a cold sore, although the exact cause is extremely difficult to pinpoint. Some causes include:
- Eating certain foods
- Menstruation (yay)
- Oral sex
- Sharing forks, knives, spoons, glasses, lip balm or any other items that touch a mouth where a breakout may be
Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Cold sores are definitely contagious. Typically, they are contagious for the entire cycle, beginning one to two days before the cold sore appears until after the sore crusts over and disappears.
12 Natural Cold Sore Remedies that Work
It’s estimated that 90% of adults will deal with cold sores at least once in a lifetime, which has given rise to natural cold sore remedies. Scientists have still not found a cure or medication that can eliminate cold sores, but applying several of these natural cold sore remedies can help get you past the most uncomfortable part.
Antiviral drugs may be prescribed for intense infections of cold sores. However, since it is a virus, there is no specific cure for it. Natural cold sore remedies may lessen the length of infection, and potentially limit the area it breaks out in. Here are some natural cold sore remedies to try:
1) A small bag of ice pressed to the area will reduce the pain you feel. Press the ice pack or bag of ice to the area for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Take care to not share this pack with anyone until it has been washed, or you will likely spread the cold sore.
2) Taking L-lysine is a remedy that comforts many people while they have a cold sore. It is an amino acid that is found in milk but is also available in a more concentrated pill form. L-lysine may lessen the length of the breakout and help relieve pain.
3) Lemon tea bags may help reduce the length of the infection while also soothing the area. To try this natural cold sore remedy, take a lemon tea bag, dip it into boiling water and apply to your sore. While you want the tea bag to be hot, take care not to burn your skin.
4) Lemon balm has long been known for its antiviral properties. To apply it safely to your skin, use a lip balm that contains at least 1% lemon and apply generously to the area.
5) Licorice root powder mixed with petroleum jelly or water is considered to be antiviral and may lessen the length of the breakout when applied to the skin.
6) Aloe vera is another one of the most popular natural cold sore remedies and a great way to soothe inflammation and reduce pain in the area. Just dab some aloe gel onto the area when it feels sensitive.
7) Sunscreen may help prevent future breakouts when applied daily to the area around the mouth.
8) Exercise may decrease inflammation and pain, believe it or not. If you were looking for another reason to get back in the gym, that may be it!
9) Omega-3 will help decrease the inflammation which in turn will lessen pain. Omega-3 can be found in walnuts and fish, but you can also get a hefty dose in pill form.
10) Elevating your head at night will help reduce inflammation and swelling. Stick an extra pillow under your head and see if it helps.
11) Cornstarch paste can be made by combining equal parts cornstarch and water. Mix to a thick paste and apply where needed.
12) Vitamin E can be taken in vitamin form, but you can also opt for vitamin E capsules and dab directly onto your skin.
Last but not least, keep in mind that while they are painful, irritating, and often unsightly, cold sores generally leave no lasting damage and are often short in duration. I hope these natural cold sore remedies offer you relief!