Most people in the US have experienced getting a cold sore as a new survey shows that 48% of people aged 14 to 49 have herpes simplex 1, also known as the cold sore virus. If it’s your first time to get one, don’t be alarmed – that painful blister on your lip can be a nuisance, but it usually heals within weeks. Moreover, it can be treated using over-the-counter medication. But if you’d rather go with natural remedies, there are some ways to get rid of your cold sores and keep your lips healthy at home.

The key to treating your cold sore is to recognize its symptoms and find ways to prevent it from spreading. Here’s what you need to know about cold sores.

Recognizing The Symptoms Of Your First Cold Sore Outbreak

If you ever wondered how you got that blister on your lip, think about the things that you’ve been doing over the past few days. If you’ve recently shared utensils, towels, razors, or if you’ve kissed someone, there’s a possibility that you got the HSV-1 virus this way. The signs and symptoms of a first cold sore outbreak may vary, but most people experience a fever, headache, sore throat, and muscle pain along with one or more blisters on the lips.

While cold sores typically clear up on their own in two weeks, know that you can have them again as the virus lies dormant in your cells and can be triggered by different factors, such as stress or a fever. For this reason, it is crucial to have cold sore remedies on hand to relieve pain and shorten the life of these painful blisters. Here are several natural remedies to try at home.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera has long been a popular cure for burns, but did you know that the clear gel from this succulent can also work as a cold sore remedy? Aloe vera contains enzymes which promote fast and natural healing, so if you have an aloe vera plant, just break off a leaf, wash it thoroughly, then split it lengthwise to expose the “meat” of the plant. Dab the gel on your cold sore throughout the day to relieve pain and discomfort. If you don’t have an aloe plant, you can order pure aloe gel from the Internet. However, make sure that it contains 100% aloe gel as some products contain very little of it and are mostly made up of alcohol and water.

Peppermint Oil

A study done by the NCBI reveals that peppermint oil can reduce pain and hasten the healing of cold sores. However, it’s essential that you apply it at the right time. When a scab has formed on the blister, then you can use peppermint oil to treat it without causing further irritation. With a clean cotton bud, dab the oil on your cold sore, being careful not to rub. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract not only makes desserts taste good, but it can also be used as an effective cure for cold sores. Apart from relieving discomfort, 5vanilla’s anti-oxidant properties can help to heal fever blisters while its natural anti-microbial properties can keep your cold sore free from infection. Make sure to use real vanilla extract and not vanilla flavoring as the latter contains no healing benefits.

To prevent spreading the HSV-1 virus to your family and friends, avoid sharing toiletries, towels, and skin-to-skin contact while the cold sores are present. Remember to keep your hands clean and to wash your hands carefully, especially if you’re caring for children or babies. Try these natural remedies to keep pain at bay and to promote healing, making sure to repeat treatment as often as needed. If your cold sore doesn’t clear up within two weeks, see your doctor for professional treatment and medication.

Sources:

1. Half of Americans Have Cold Sore Virus; 12 Percent Genital Herpes, NBC News,https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/half-americans-have-cold-sore-virus-12-pct-genital-herpes-n845066

2. Cold Sore, Mayo Clinic,https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20371017

3. Aloe Vera For Cold Sores, Livestrong,https://www.livestrong.com/article/295679-aloe-vera-for-cold-sores/

4. Virucidal Effect Of Peppermint Oil On The Enveloped Viruses Herplex Simplex Virus Type 1 And Type 2 In Vitro, NCBI,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13678235

5. Studies On The Antioxidant Activities Of Natural Vanilla Extract And Its Constituent Compounds Through In Vitro Models, ACS Publications,https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf071349%2B

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