Many people think they contracted cold sores by kissing one frog too many. In reality, more than 90 percent of the human race carry the virus that causes cold sores, or herpes simplex 1, so you may well have contracted it by kissing your grandmother or close friend. (Ew.) Every doctor’s office sees its fair share of cold sores; they are very common and can be annoying and painful, but they will heal over time. We are not talking about genital herpes (herpes simplex 2), which we will write about in the future. We are also not talking about genital warts.
Treating your symptoms
Medical treatments can’t “cure” the herpes simplex virus, which lies dormant in your body after you’ve contracted it. Consequently, since they are symptoms of the virus, you can’t cure the sores, either. You can, however, treat the symptoms by relieving the pain and shortening the duration of time it takes for your body to heal. We suggest using medications prescribed by doctors to get rid of your cold sores for best results. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the pain and length of symptoms.
If this is your first outbreak, your symptoms will probably be more severe than any future bouts. You may experience a slight fever, headache and some overall aches and pains. Standard over-the-counter pain relievers will help you feel better while you wait for your movie-star smile to return.
Pain reduction solutions
For subsequent herpes events, we also advise taking these simple over-the-counter pain relievers.
For a more topical solution on the blister itself, these remedies may prove beneficial:
- Ice: A quick and readily accessible option to immediately reduce pain and swelling. Apply it directly to the sore.
- Lemon balm: This healing herb may speed up healing as well as prevent future sores. You can find lip balm that contains at least one percent lemon balm extract, or make a tea with the herb itself and dab the sore with a cloth infused with the liquid.
- Zinc oxide: When applied within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, this cream-based medicine can reduce the extent of the outbreak as well as reduce the itching and soreness.
There are also prescriptions available that may speed the healing process. If it’s appropriate, your Innovative Express Care professional will prescribe one of these four medications for your herpes outbreak: Valtrex or Acyclovir. These have medically been shown to decrease the length of symptoms.
You may have a preference for the way you take medications, so be sure to tell us that when we discuss your medical options. Your cold sore will go away, and with proper treatment, it won’t cause too much pain as it does. A beautiful smile is in your future.
Image Source: Anthony Kelly