If you get cold sores on a regular basis, you know how painful and annoying they can be. A particularly bad sore on your lip makes it difficult to eat or smile without causing discomfort and bleeding. Cold sores go away on their own, but it takes days. There are several home remedies and medications to try, but they seem to have different effects for different people. Here are a few additional tips for treating and preventing cold sores.
Learn What Causes Your Outbreak
When you have regular outbreaks, you should eventually see a pattern concerning what causes them. For instance, it could be intense stress, sun exposure, or certain foods such as salt or acid. Avoiding these triggers might reduce the number of outbreaks you have. Avoiding these triggers when you have a current outbreak could also keep your sore from getting worse and allow it to heal faster.
Try Drying Agents
Drying agents seem to work for some people. You might try a cold sore product that contains zinc oxide, alcohol, or calamine lotion. Applying one of these products at the first sign of an outbreak might keep the sore from blossoming, or the sore may heal quicker. Covering the cold sore with a cream or lotion also protects it from irritation from the sun, stray hairs, or the wind, all of which might trigger a more intense outbreak. Once a scab has formed, however, drying agents may be too irritating.
Use Wet Compresses
Once a cold sore has developed a scab, you may want to apply a wet compress several times each day. This helps keep the scab soft and pliable, so the sore doesn't crack and bleed as much when you move your mouth to yawn, laugh, or smile. Simply wet a washcloth with cool or cold water and hold it over the sore for a few minutes at a time. If you don't find the cool temperatures irritating, the coldness may also help with pain relief.
Apply OTC Cold Sore Medication
Cold sore medication you buy over the counter may not shorten the duration of your outbreak, but they could make your cold sore easier to endure. Some ointments and creams have pain relievers in them, so you get some relief from the constant pain and soreness that comes along with a cold sore. Others provide a moisture barrier that keeps the sore moist, so you won't have to suffer with painful cracking. Other creams use natural substances that help fight off viral and bacterial infections.
These cold sore treatments may help you deal with your current outbreak, and avoiding your triggers might help minimize future outbreaks. However, if you seem to have frequent cold sores, you might want to seek help from a natural health doctor who can help you build your immunity and find ways to keep cold sores at bay by improving your overall health.