How To Treat Cold Sores
There are many that you can do at home to soothe the sting of a cold sore, such as:
Ice. You can numb the pain if you apply a cold compress to the sore. Donât put ice directly on your skin — that could damage it.
Pain relievers. When a cold sore really stings, you may get some relief from an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen.
Over-the-counter creams. There are products available at the drugstore that can help reduce the pain of a cold sore or help keep the skin soft while it heals.
Prescription drugs. Because cold sores are caused by a virus, doctors may suggest an antiviral medication to help you heal more quickly. The antiviral drugs used to treat cold sores include acyclovir , valacyclovir , famciclovir , and penciclovir .
Aloe vera gel. The same gel used for sunburn may help a cold sore to heal. Lab research has shown the gel may help fight viruses, including herpes simplex.
Lysine. This supplement may be used sometimes to treat cold sores. It comes in a cream or in capsule form.
Propolis. This is a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees. It may be used like an ointment to treat cold sores.
Lemon balm. Some research has shown that lemon balm extract can help cold sores get better, too.
Tea tree oil. Some research has shown that this strong-smelling oil helps a cold sore heal more quickly.
What You Can Expect During An Outbreak
Prior to an outbreak, there may be a period of symptoms known as prodrome in which the person experiences itching, pain, or tingling. Additional symptoms can include headaches, enlarged lymph nodes, and achiness. This period can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days and is usually followed by the appearance of blisters. Sometimes, there is no blistering.
When blistering does occur, the blisters usually erupt and heal within 6-10 days. The outbreaks may also appear as fissures or general inflammation. During the first year after exposure, outbreaks can occur more frequently as the immune system stages a response to the HSV. In people with healthy immune systems, the outbreaks become less frequent and less severe but the virus is always present in the system.
Outbreaks can be triggered by weather , injury, fever, menstruation, suppression of the immune system due to medication or other factors, and stress. In addition, dental work, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, can elicit an outbreak.
What To Look For
Check the supplement facts label before buying any dietary or herbal supplements. The label provides important information about the number of active ingredients per serving. It should also include information about other ingredients in the supplement.
Look for a product that has been quality tested by an independent organization. Supplements that have been quality tested will include the logo of the testing agency on the label. Examples of quality testing agencies include:
- US Pharmacopeia
You May Like: What Is Vitamin B12 Good For Weight Loss
Other Cold Sore Treatment Options
While its uncertain whether taking an oral lysine supplement or using a cream containing lysine could provide the results you may be looking for, its worth noting that you have many other cold sore treatment options.
The Mayo Clinic assures that blisters do typically clear up on their own within two to four weeks, but if you are interested in a quicker recovery, your doctor might prescribe an oral medication, such as valacyclovir or acyclovir, to help speed up the healing process. At-home treatments, such as using a cold compress, applying lip balm or using an over-the-counter cold sore cream, can also help ease your discomfort.
Another way to cope with HSV-1 is to learn what triggers your outbreaks and try to avoid those triggers. Some people find that stress often leads to the formation of blisters, for example. Practicing stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, might help you relax and avoid an outbreak.
Ultimately, the best thing to do if youre curious about trying lysine for cold sores is talk to your doctor. They can give you advice on the benefits or drawbacks of using a supplement and can recommend other treatments to keep your cold sores under control.
How Supplements Can Help
The supplements listed can all help minimize outbreaks and speed healing. They should be used in combination at the first sign of a cold sore. Effects will be noticed in two or three days.
Most useful is the amino acid lysine which, when taken orally, suppresses the growth of HSV-1 in cream form, lysine can be applied directly to the sores. Its fine to use long term and may help prevent cold sores from forming. Also effective is a melissa cream made from the potent antiviral herb Melissa officinalis use at the first sign of tingling.
Vitamin C and flavonoids may help as well. As powerful antioxidants, they work to facilitate healing by eliminating naturally occurring, cell-damaging compounds known as free radicals both also boost virus-fighting immune system cells. Vitamin A and selenium have antioxidant properties too. Along with flaxseed oil, they hasten the healing process by promoting cell renewal. Flare-ups may be treated with the immune-enhancing herbs echinacea and goldenseal, which are natural antivirals and antibiotics.
Also Check: What Vitamins Should I Take For Healthy Skin
Side Effects Of Herpes Supplements
Herpes supplements are not linked to any adverse side effects because most will utilize natural ingredients. However, studies have found that they can surely put some mild side effects on the body when not consumed according to the intended dosages.
That being said, healthy adults might not even experience those mild side effects at all. But when they are taking the supplements with other medicines, the mild effects can indeed be noticeable. For that reason, it is pretty essential to talk with your doctor before taking one of these supplements.
We refer to the mild side effects like dizziness, tiredness, headaches, nausea, depression, vomiting, joint pain, stomach pain, menstrual pain, stuffy noses, and skin rashes. Some people even reported that they faced mood changes while taking these supplements.
In terms of adverse side effects, few people claimed that they experienced easy bleeding and bruising. But we believe that the supplement that they were taking did not have the right ingredients.
You May Like: What Vitamins Build Up The Immune System
What Vitamins Can I Take To Prevent Cold Sores
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can take to prevent cold sores completely. However, vitamins that help to improve your immune system can make it harder for the herpes simplex virus to break through. When your immune system is stronger, youll likely notice fewer blister flare-ups.
Use the vitamins listed in this article to help prevent severe outbreaks. Keep taking them when you do experience cold sores to help weaken the symptoms and speed up the healing time.
If youre prone to getting cold sore outbreaks, you may have used a treatment with lysine in it before to help get rid of a nasty blister. But, lysine can also be taken as a preventative supplement. It is an amino acid that works by inhibiting the absorption of arginine. Arginine is another type of amino acid that is needed for HSV-1 to thrive and spread.
The replication of the virus becomes very difficult when lysine is present. This can significantly shorten the time it takes for a blister to heal fully.
Lysine isnt produced naturally by the body. So, its necessary to ingest it through foods, such as:
Or, you can take a lysine supplement. You only need about 1,000mg each day as a cold sore preventative. When you do experience a flare-up, you can raise that dosage to 2,000-3,000mg a day. It will help to get rid of a blister quickly and safely.
Many foods contain high amounts of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Some of the most common are:
- Sunflower seeds
Read Also: What Is The Optimal Level Of Vitamin D
Herpesvirus And Other Infections
A herpes prodrome or active herpes infection is also an absolute contraindication. Price and colleagues27 describe a case of fulminant hepatic failure and death due to herpes simplex infection after hysteroscopy. This case report detailed the unfortunate sequelae of performing hysteroscopy in a patient with herpes without mucocutaneous lesions. Although this is a rare condition, it reminds us that hysteroscopic procedures should be abandoned if active herpes or a prodromal herpetic episode is suspected. Herpes is a possible cause of postsurgical infection, especially in the setting of high fever, leukopenia, and abnormal liver function. Gynecologists performing hysteroscopy must remain vigilant about asymptomatic herpes when hysteroscopy is performed.
Microscopically inspect the vaginal discharge if it appears mucopurulent or malodorous, and obtain cervical cultures. Patients who have trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted disease, might have a higher incidence of other STDs such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia trachomatis. It is far better to postpone the hysteroscopy by 1 week than to cause an acute pelvic infection.
Anthony Zeimet, … HoonmoKoo , in, 2011
What Does Dr Weil Recommend
To prevent recurrences, try the following cold sore remedies:
- Avoid foods rich in the amino acid arginine, which can activate the virus. These foods include chocolate, cola, beer, grain cereals, chicken soup, gelatin, seeds, nuts and peas.
- Get a new toothbrush. The virus can live in your toothbrush and re-infect you. When the sore is gone, get another new toothbrush. Also, to prevent the virus from getting into the toothpaste , dont touch the brush to the tube when youre squeezing out toothpaste.
- Always use SPF 15 sunscreen before going out in the sun and use a lip moisturizer with sunscreen.
- Since the HSV is highly contagious, dont kiss or shake hands with anyone who has a cold sore or fever blisters. And avoid these contacts when you have one.
- Keep your hands clean.
- Avoid sharing towels and utensils with anyone who has a cold sore.
To speed healing from active cold sores and fever blisters, take monolaurin, an antiviral supplement you can get in the health food store. The dosage is one gram in capsule form three times a day before meals. Cream containing the amino acid lysine applied directly to the cold sore can help as well. Taking L-lysine can reduce the frequency of attacks of oral herpes in some people. Take 500-1,000 milligrams a day on an empty stomach to prevent recurrence.
Dont Miss: What Vitamins Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Recommended Reading: Fruits Rich In Vitamin C
Can A High Dosage Of Vitamin C Stop Cold Sores From Forming
Caused by the herpes simplex virus , cold sores can be very painful. In search of both healing and prevention, people often look for alternative treatments that work. These options can sometimes include vitamins and home remedies for cold sores.
While many questions linger as to which natural treatments deliver results, high dose vitamin C does show signs of promise. This is not only true for vitamin C but other vitamins and supplements as well. It works best when used as a part of a healthier lifestyle, but theres no way to guarantee the prevention of an outbreak.
Critical phytochemicals, known as bioflavonoids, can also potentially help to prevent cold sores. This is especially true if vitamin C is working in conjunction with these potent super-antioxidants.
If youre seeking to give your health a boost, we recommend Herp Rescue Immune System Support. It contains vitamin c, L-Lysine, zinc, and other essential nutrients. Your body urgently needs all of these things to effectively fight off HSV-1.
Does vitamin c for cold sores work? We will seek to answer that question.
Homeopathic Remedies For Cold Sores
From the above mentioned home remedies, we are clued-up with what we can put on cold sores? Still, some people want to go for homeopathic treatment. So, here are some homeopathic remedies for healing cold sores.
- Borax : It is used for herpes outbreaks.
- Apis mellifica : It is used when the cold sores are tender to touch and are accompanied by swelling, redness and pain.
- Dulcamara : It is used when sores erupts due to the rainy season.
- Arsenicum album : Provide relief in the burning pain.
- Graphites : It is used when honey-like substance oozes out from the sores.
- Natrum muriaticum : It is used for red sores on lips, chin, face and nostril area.
Dosage: Take one dose of homeopathic medicine and wait for the response. Take the second only when effective results are seen. The frequency of dosage wholly depends on the condition of the person. For more information on dosage, you should consult a doctor.
Recommended Reading: Who Sells Puritan Pride Vitamins
Diet And Lifestyle Modifications
Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun has a profound effect on the skins immune system therefore, it is essential to protect the skin and prevent outbreaks. If you are prone to cold sores, wearing sunblock around the lips can be helpful.
Allergenic foods put additional strain on the immune system, so avoiding these foods can prevent outbreaks.
When it comes to not infecting other people, do not share lip balm, lipstick, or eating utensils, and avoid skin-to-skin contact during an active outbreak.
Elimination of refined carbohydrates and sugars has been useful to reduce the incidence of recurrence. Sugar weakens the immune system.
Are Cold Sores Linked To Vitamin Deficiencies
Asking whether vitamin deficiencies cause cold sores is a tricky question. In reality, cold sores only have one cause: HSV-1. As mentioned above, once you contract HSV-1, it will be with you forever. But there are many steps you can take to avoid triggering the HSV-1 virus to reactivate and produce cold sores.
Because your immune system plays a key role in keeping HSV-1 at bay, it’s important to support it with proper nutrients. Studies show that certain vitamin deficiencies can severely reduce your immune system’s ability to fight infections.
So while they don’t cause cold sores directly, vitamin deficiencies can indirectly lead to cold sore outbreaks.
Conversely, resolving vitamin deficiencies through diet and/or supplementation can help to support your immune system and reduce outbreaks.
Here are five vitamins whose deficiencies may be causing your cold sore outbreaks.
Read Also: Ginger Vitamin C Bright Spot Tonic
Treatment Options And Foods To Help Curb Outbreaks
The war on herpes has raged for centuries. In the first century A.D., Tiberius, Emperor of Rome, actually banned kissing to combat a herpes epidemic.
What is herpes?
Although many think of herpes as a skin infection, it is actually an inflammation of the sensory nerves. In between outbreaks, the herpes DNA survives in nerve centers at the base of the brain called ganglia. During outbreaks, the DNA replicates, forming a virus. The virus passes down the nerve to the skin, where it causes lesions.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are transmitted by contact usually kissing or sexual contact. They tend to occur orally or genitally because our skin provides sufficient protection against transmission except where it is very thin and sensitive like on the lips or genitals.
Our immune system is able to combat the virus, but the catch is that the virus retreats from our immune defenses and hides, lying dormant in the ganglia, nerves at along the spinal cord. Periodically, the virus retraces its way to the lips or genitals, and causes another outbreak.
Research Provides a Solution
Now, new research is providing successful treatment alternatives.
Studies show that the amino acid l-lysine can be effective as a dietary supplement, and when applied topically.
Lysine Supplements the herpes preventative
In Canada, the government allows lysine to be sold as a cold sore treatment, giving further validity to the concept.
Topical Lysine #1 Treatment option
Treatment and Prevention
Supplements From A To Z
Vitamin A: The immunity-boosting vitamin A helps the body fight infection, allowing for faster healing.
Vitamin B6: B vitamins are essential for skin, hair, and liver health, as well as to assist in the metabolism of fats and proteins. A deficiency can increase vulnerability for infections and inhibit the healing process. Vitamin B6 also produces antiviral antibodies and strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids: Better known for its potential to fight the common cold, vitamin C supports white blood cells and packs an even more powerful punch when combined with bioflavonoids. The combination has antiviral properties that fight HSV-1, which causes cold sore outbreaks.
In addition, vitamin C with bioflavonoids boosts energy and can reduce stress, providing a vitamin supplement with preventative power.
| Related: Vitamin-Packed Baked Chicken Fajita Roll-Ups |
Vitamin E: This antioxidant protects white blood cells from free radical damage and also increases cell production. In addition, vitamin E shortens the healing duration of cold sores and can decrease the frequency of outbreaks. When taken during outbreaks, the vitamin may limit the severity of cold sores.
Lysine: Available as both an oral supplement and a topical ointment, lysine is an amino acid that actually blocks the ability of the virus to replicate during the shedding period.
Read Also: How Can I Increase My Vitamin D Level
Foods With Higher Lysine
- fish, chicken, beef and lamb
- apples, mangoes, apricots, papaya, beets
- nutritional yeast
This doesnt mean you have to completely avoid foods that are high in arginine. I love nuts, coconut, oats and chocolate and I still eat them. Im just mindful about the fact that they are high in arginine and make sure I balance things out by eating foods that are high in lysine as well. Its also important to remember that while fish, meats and dairy products are high in lysine, eating too much of these high protein foods can make the body too acidic, which can also cause a cold sore outbreak. As always, moderation is the key.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Vitamin C On The Market