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What are cold sores?

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are groups of tiny blisters that can form around your lips and/or nose. These painful sores are caused by herpes simplex virus, and are very common in people all across the globe due to how contagious HSV is. Although many cold sores don’t always cause too many issues, they have the potential to cause serious illness in many patients. However, almost all cold sores go through these stages:

  • You may feel a burning or tingling sensation around your mouth.
  • Blisters begin to form between 12-24 hours later, becoming swollen and irritated.
  • The group of blisters break open, release fluid, and crust over forming a scab.
  • The scab will eventually fall off to complete the healing process.

 

How can you get rid of cold sores fast?

When a fever blister begins to form in or around your mouth, it’s common to want to cure it immediately. Cold sores can make you feel insecure when you smile. Although there are no immediate cures for cold sores, there are a variety of precautions and remedies you can try from home to help speed up the healing process. 

Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is used for a variety of reasons, including weight loss, maintaining blood sugar, and even healing cold sores. Apple cider vinegar has been known to help individuals combat bacteria, viruses, and other types of infections. If you have a cold sore, apple cider vinegar could be a home remedy to try out. However, it’s important to remember to dilute your vinegar before applying around your mouth, because this portion of your skin is incredibly sensitive. 

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is an herb that is used in a variety of ways to help heal or relieve infections like cold sores. This herb is known to help reduce the redness and irritation of a fever blister. Most individuals use lip balm that contains at least 1% of lemon balm. 

Cold Compression

Although cold compressions aren’t necessarily a treatment for healing a cold sore, they do tend to help alleviate a bit of the pain. Indirectly applying ice around the infected area can help numb the sore, helping you to relax for the time being.

Aloe Vera Gel

You may think aloe vera gel can only heal your sunburns during the summer. Did you know it can work to relieve the pain of cold sores as well? Aloe vera gel not only provides your skin with necessary moisture, it also helps soothe the burning and itching sensation you may be experiencing.

Medications

If you aren’t interested in finding a home remedy for your cold sore, you may be looking for medication to speed up the process. Luckily, there are over-the-counter medications alongside prescriptions that can help heal your fever blister. We recommend beginning with an OTC ointment like Abreva. Antiviral ointments like this have continued to help many patients until the cold sore is completely healed. If your cold sore does not heal with the help of an ointment like Abreva, you may need a prescription medication. Speak with your doctor to find out which solution will work best for you. 

Proper Precautions

If you have a fever blister, it’s important to take the proper precautions to help prevent the spread of the infection to other areas of your body or those around you. Although you may think your cold sore isn’t a serious issue, it could mean illness for someone else. A few precautions to take are:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Don’t pick at or squeeze the blister.
  • Stay out of the sun.
  • Do not share products that may spread the infection. 

 

When to Visit the Dentist

Cold sores typically clear up in 7-10 days after forming. For some, weakened immune systems can cause fever blisters to be worse than normal, bringing about severe symptoms. If your cold sore is not close to being completely healed after 2 weeks, we recommend making an appointment with a professional to find a solution. 

If a cold sore appears before you have a dental appointment, it’s incredibly important to contact us as soon as possible. This will allow us to reschedule if needed to avoid the spread of HSV to other patients. 

 

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