How to Treat Cold Sores with Home Remedies
If you have sores on your lips or around your mouth, this may be a symptom of lip herpes, commonly known as cold sores. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, cold sores are triggered by the herpes simplex virus. Lip herpes is mostly characterized by itching and pain in the area around the mouth. Despite the common myth that only women can have cold sores, this problem can affect men, women, and children of any age.
The symptoms of oral herpes
According to WebMD, the primary symptoms of herpes on the lip are usually shown after about 12 days of the virus becoming active. Recent statistics state, however, that a person can start to experience the symptoms after only four days after catching the virus. The herpes simplex virus can be caught through direct contact (kiss or touch) or indirect contact (shared personal items) with an infected person.
Cold sores can have several symptoms:
- Red, blistering sores – they can form on the lips, gums, tongue’s front and root, throat, and inside of the cheeks. In some cases, the sores can affect the chin and neck. At first, the sores are shallow and gray on a red base. In few days, they turn to be crusty and look yellowish.
- Pain – especially when eating or drinking;
- Burning, tingling, and itching – these symptoms appear before the sores become noticeable;
- The gums can become swollen and start bleeding;
- The lymph nodes on the neck may also become swollen and cause pain;
- In teenagers and young adults, there are possible such symptoms as a sore throat with ulcers and gray coating on the tonsils.
Oral herpes may last for 2-3 weeks and end even without any treatment. But if you choose to ignore lip herpes, you may suffer from repetitive outbreaks with fever, extreme tiredness, muscle ache, and irritability.
Medications that can treat oral herpes
Commonly, health care specialists advise avoiding self-treatment with over-the-counter medications when it comes to oral herpes. The reason for this recommendation is that the symptoms of mouth herpes can be confused with more serious problems, especially if you have a fever. But at your own risk you can try to use the following medications to get rid of cold sores:
- Acetaminophen (the brand names are Feverall, Tylenol, Panadol) as a painkiller;
- Ibuprofen (Ibuprin, Motrin, Advil) to reduce pain and fever;
- Any topical anesthetic with lidocaine (for example – Dilocaine or Zilactin-L).
8 home remedies for cold sores
Is it possible to cure oral herpes at home? Well, you can try some natural remedies for treating cold sores on the lip at home. But, keep in mind, the remedies that may work for some people, may not be not helpful for others.
This oil can serve as a natural skin moisturizer. It is well-known thanks to many anti-oxidants in its contents. Due to these components, olive oil can be recommended for cold sore treatment. You may use it in the following way:
- Heat 1 cup of olive oil in a pot;
- Add some lavender oil and bee wax;
- Let the mixture cool down;
- Then apply on the area with herpes sores.
One of the most affordable methods for a cold sore relief can be ice packs. You may take few ice packs and crush them. Put the crushed ice in a plastic bag, then wrap the bag in a clean thick cloth. Put the cold compress on the sores. Leave it for 15 minutes until the swelling, pain, and itching become less. Repeat the procedure as many times as you need throughout the day.
Echinacea medicinal plant is well-known thanks to its anti-viral properties. To relieve an outbreak of cold sores, you may use the flowers, leaves, and the roots of Echinacea plant. It can be consumed as herbal teas, juices, or pills.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil may be helpful in a natural herpes treatment because of its anti-bacterial properties. Try to make an herbal rinse with distilled water and few drops of tea tree oil to remove the sores from your mouth. For the sores on lips, you can put the drops directly on the affected area.
According to a recent study, lemon balm has in its content rosmarinic acid, flavonoids, and phenolic acid that may heal the herpes sores. You may use this method for a natural oral herpes relief:
- Prepare the lemon balm tea;
- Leave it steep for few minutes;
- Use a cotton ball to soak the tea in;
- Apply straight on the sores.
Alternatively, you may add 3 mL of lemon balm tincture in distilled water. Stir the mixture and sip. Drink at least 3 times throughout the day.
In some herbal pharmacies, it is possible to buy lemon balm in the form of ointments and cream that can be applied directly on the cold sores.
Black tea bags
Known as one of “grandma’s” methods for home cold sore relief, black tea can help soothe the herpes pain and the inflammation. This effect can be achieved thanks to tannin contained in black tea. You may use such method:
- Prepare 1 cup of black tea;
- Let it cool down;
- Apply the cooled tea bag on the mouth with sores;
- Leave the bag for 5 minutes;
- Repeat 2-3 times throughout the day.
Cornstarch can be helpful for oral herpes treatment when you need to absorb excessive moisture from the affected skin and in such way to reduce itching. You may try to apply cornstarch straight to the sores by means of a cotton ball. Gently rub on the cold sores. Repeat few times a day.
Manuka honey is a medical type of honey that originates from New Zealand. This remedy is commonly recommended for herpes treatment thanks to its antiviral properties. Try to apply some Manuka honey straight on the affected area for rapid healing of blisters and sores.
Cold sores can turn to be very painful and cause the discomfort while eating or drinking. If you experience severe pain and fever caused by oral herpes, consider seeking medical assistance as soon as possible. Especially, if your child suffers from these symptoms longer than 2-3 days.