The little fluid-filled lesions that show up near your lips are called cold sores, or sometimes, fever blisters. These blisters are caused by a herpes virus and no cure exists. They usually occur when you are under stress or if your immune system is weakened. Many home remedies and medications exist to help your sores heal faster and to lower the number of cold sores you may get.
Home Remedies for Cold Sore
The virus that causes cold sores can live in your toothbrush, so be sure to change your toothbrush after you see the blister and when it is cleared up. To relieve a sore mouth, use a mouth rinse that contains baking soda.
Apply Ice Pack
Cold can provide temporary relief from the pain of a cold sore so try ice or cold compresses to ease the pain. Popsicles are also a good choice. Also, ice can help lessen the time a cold sore will remain.
Real licorice, not the candy that we usually think of that is flavored with anise, has an acid in it that can kill the virus that causes cold sores. You can either chew on a piece of licorice or sprinkle licorice powder on the sore to help it heal quickly. Do not use licorice for long periods of time as this can have side effects with other medications.
You do not drink the milk to aide in cold sore relief. Use a cotton ball soaked in milk to ease the pain. If you apply milk as a cold sore starts, it will help it heal faster.
Avoid Certain Things
- Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, or one that is made especially for lips, to prevent recurrences of cold sores that are sun-induced.
- Many things can cause a cold sore. Illnesses, sunburn, fatigue, trauma, stress and menstruation can also bring on a cold sore. To avoid cold sores caused by stress, try exercise, yoga or reading.
- Citrus fruits and tomatoes have an acid in them that can be painful, so you should avoid these.
Seek Medical Help
Take aspirin, ibuprofen or pain medication to help ease the pain of cold sores. Non-prescription products, such as Orajel, are available to numb the sore area around the mouth. Other products, like Abreva, can help the sores heal faster or may prevent them if used early enough.
Preventative Measures for Cold Sore
- Always use sunscreen to protect your lips from the sun
- Do not kiss anyone who has genital herpes or a cold sore
- Some foods may cause outbreaks – learn to avoid them
- Do not share razors, toothbrushes, towel or silverware with anyone with a cold sore
Prevent the Spread in Children
- Be sure your child knows proper hand-washing techniques and washes his/her hands often
- Wash all toys that children put in their mouths
- Disinfect all toys routinely
- Keep your child at home if they have an open or seeping blister
- Do not allow children who have cold sores to kiss others
- Always wear gloves when applying medication to a child’s mouth