Cold sores also called fever blisters. Cold sores are caused by a viral infection that attacks the skin and nervous system. . They are sometimes confused with impetigo, which usually develops between the nose and upper lip. Fluid that weeps from impetigo is cloudy and honey-colored. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and they’re contagious. Canker sores, which aren’t contagious, are ulcers that occur in the soft tissues inside your mouth, places where cold sores don’t occur.Cold sores are usually caused by herpes virus, which can lay dormant in the body and becomes active later when something triggers it. Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 are two strains of the Herpes virus family, Herpesviridae, which cause infections in humans. HSV establishes latency, during which the virus is present in the cell bodies of nerves which innervate the area of original outbreak. During reactivation, virus is produced in the cell and transported outwardly via the nerve cell’s axon to the skin.
Herpes infections are marked by painful, watery blisters in the skin or mucous membranes (such as the mouth or lips) or on the genitals. People can catch HSV-1 by kissing a person with a cold sore or sharing a drinking glass or utensils, so it’s easy to see why there are so many cold sores around.The blisters resemble those seen in Chickenpox an infection caused by a third member of the alpha-Herpesviridae subfamily, Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), also known as Human Herpes Virus 3 (HHV-3). Lesions heal with a crudescent scab, the hallmark of herpetic disease. HSV is generally transmitted by direct contact of lips or genitals when the sores are present, or also when no sores are present (known as viral shedding). HSV can be present in semen, vaginal fluids, and saliva. In addition, herpes may be transmitted during childbirth, which can be fatal to the infant. The immature immune system of the child is unable to defend against the virus and even if treated, infection can result in brain damage.
HSV-1 is so common that most Americans get infected with it, although many never have any symptoms. Around 1 in 5 people in the UK have frequently recurring cold sores. Some people never get them, either because they do not have the virus or because it never becomes active. Kids who get infected with HSV-1 may get cold sores occasionally for the rest of their lives That’s because even after the sores themselves dry up and go away, the virus stays in the body, waiting around for another time to come out and cause more sores. Cold sores will usually go away on their own within a few days.Treatment may include topical creams or ointments or sometimes antiviral medicines (such as acyclovir or famciclovir). Treatment may reduce the duration of the cold sores by only 1 to 2 days. Using a medication may shorten the duration of cold sores and decrease your pain.
Treatment of Cold Sores
1. Drug called acyclovir (Zovirax), which may help shorten the length of the outbreak.
2. Good hand washing when a sore is present will help prevent the spread of the infection.
3. Treatment may include topical creams or ointments or sometimes antiviral medicines (such as acyclovir or famciclovir).
4. Treat any pain by taking paracetamol or applying witch hazel to the sore. A topical (applied to the skin) anaesthetic
5. Avoid salty, spicy or acidic foods and drinks, which may irritate the sore.
6. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins A, C and E, zinc and iron is also important to keep the immune system strong.
Home remedies of Cold Sores
1.Ice is a very good home remedy for cold sores. Rub ice on the infected skin for few minutes, repeat this every hour.
2. Apply a tea bag for few minutes on the blisters, repeat this every hour. One can also consider pressing a warm tea bag on the blisters for approximately 30 minutes.
3. Applying Witch Hazel on sores will give you some relief.
4. Avoid acidic and salty foods. Foods such as chocolates, peanuts, grains, peas, seeds, oatmeal and whole-wheat are high in arginine, therefore they should be restricted.
5. Avoid tea and coffee. Eat vitamin rich diet.
6. Applying sunscreen to your lips may help prevent sun-induced recurrences of cold sores.
7. Change your toothbrush.
8. Coconut Oil – Take 100ml of coconut oil, 2ml of dettol, and 3ml or carbolic acid and mix them together. Apply twice daily directly on your cold sore. Some people say this formula also works on boils and mosquito bites.
9. Take a leaf from an aloe vera plant and rub the liquid from it onto your cold sore blister
10. Tea Tree Oil is the best home remedy for cold sores. This is a drink that contains tea tree oil, herbal sage, and violet. These ingredients are mixed together with a couple sage leaves and ginger powder, and put in with a cup of boiling water. Drink this 2-3 times a day and within a couple of days your cold sore will be gone.
11. Ibuprofen is a useful home remedy for cold sores as well as additional bodily ailments.
12. Take 3 acidophilus pills in the morning and 3 in the evening and it will start to dry out and clear up. If you suffer from frequent ones, take 2 a day to keep them away.