A cold sore is a representation of the herpes virus. It will appear as a fluid-filled blister or red bump around the mouth, nose, and chin or on the fingers. Occasionally it can be inside the mouth, but only on the gums and the roof of the mouth, never on the soft flesh.
If you have a sore on the soft, fleshy areas of the mouth, it is most likely a canker sore. Most often you will feel tingling even before the sore appears. You may see a small, hard, red bump appear that may eventually turn into a blister. The area may be painful and red.
Outbreaks usually last 7 to 10 days; if your outbreak lasts much longer, contact your doctor. Once you have a cold sore, you will always get them. Cold sores are symptoms of the herpes simplex virus 1, or oral herpes. There is no cure for herpes, but if you are feeling the first signs of a cold sore, there are steps you can take to try and minimize the intensity and duration of the sore.
4 Ways to Naturally Treat Cold Sores
There are some steps you can take to minimize the intensity of the cold sore, and limit the length of time you have it.
- LIMIT SUN EXPOSURE. Many cold sores are triggered by UV light. Use a strong sun block or a waterproof chapstick with a high SPF on lips.
- REDUCE STRESS. Stress weakens the immune system and causes the outbreak to last longer and be more serious.
- TRY SUPPLEMENTS. Garlic and echinacea have been shown to have some effect. Take a garlic supplement, or apply echinacea directly to the affected area.
- PRETEND YOU HAVE A COLD. Treat the cold sore as you would any other contagious virus. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching the affected area and by all means, don't share utensils, cups, towels, razors or anything that may come in contact with the sore with any one else.
Can I Prevent Cold Sores?
There are two different issues here: preventing the contraction of herpes and preventing future outbreaks. It is possible to reduce your risk of both; however herpes is one of the most common, wide spread STD's because it is so contagious. You can prevent contracting herpes by being open and honest with all sexual partners. Communicate with your partner about herpes and avoid intercourse, kissing and oral sex during an outbreak. Make sure you use condoms all the time, even if you use other methods of birth control. Spermicide can irritate the vaginal walls and increase the chance of becoming infected. While there is no absolute way to prevent future outbreaks, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of them.
- Limit Stress.
- Support Healthy Immunity. A weakened immune system will make you more susceptible to herpes as well as most other illnesses.
- Educate Yourself. Be aware of the signs of an outbreak and how easily it can be contracted. Education is the first step towards preventing further outbreaks and contagion.