6 Facts About Cold Sores: Prevention and Tips to Heal Them

6 Facts About Cold Sores: Prevention and Tips to Heal Them

Cold sores are not pretty to look at.

They are uncomfortable, painful, embarrassing, and hard to get rid of

Read these 6 facts to prevent cancer sores and heal them quickly when they do appear.

A Deeper Look into the Cause of Cold Sores

  1. A common viral infection

A cold sore is a group of tiny, painful blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They’re also called fever blisters or herpes simplex labialis.

Up to 90% of people around the world have at least one form of HSV.

  1. Causes of a Cold Sore
Some of the most common triggers for one of these outbreaks include:
  • Stress
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Exposure to cold temperatures
  • Upper respiratory infections and fever
  • Dental services: gum treatment, fillings, etc.
  • HPV
  • Hormonal changes
  • Compromised immune system
  • Certain foods: acidic foods, certain fruit, and chocolate
  1. Prevention
  • Don't kiss anyone with a cancer sore and don't share food or drinks with this person.
  • Antiviral medications such as valacyclovir (Valtrex) or acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • Lysine, an essential amino acid is found in protein. Lysine isn’t produced in your body, so you must consume it through an oral supplement or diet.

Common foods rich in lysine include:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • pork
  • codfish
  • sardines
  • eggs
  • yogurt
  • parmesan cheese
  • spirulina
  • soybeans

Lysine is essential for our health; it helps with calcium absorption and collagen formation. Many people may not consume enough lysine in their diet. Athletes and/ or vegans may need to consume more lysine.

Lemon Lip Balm for Cold Sores

  • Lemon Lip Balm

The antiviral properties of lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, may help reduce the redness or discoloration and swelling associated with a blister, or protect against future infections — at least according to a 1994 study.

Use a lip balm with at least 1 percent lemon balm. Or, as an alternative, a compress made of a lemon balm infusion (tea) may provide similar benefits.

  • Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits and even an abundance or frequent chocolate
  • Use a Red LED Light (more about this as you continue reading below)
Hint: The Celebrity Smiles LED Red Light can be helpful!
  • Wash your hands often and don’t rub your eyes
  • Replace your toothbrush often
  • Don't kiss someone who has a cold sore or use that person's utensils, towels, or razors
  • Apply sunscreen to your face and lips before prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Replace your lipstick or lip balm often
  1. How to Recognize a Cold Sore Outbreak

If you had chicken pox, a herpes virus, or anything similar, you are always at risk for these unsightly sores. 

Recognizing the early stages of a cold sore will be valuable to halt the progression of these unsightly sores.

Below is a list of what to look for when a cold sore starts to appear:

Tingling

The tingling sensation is your 1st sign of a cold sore and this is when you want to do all that you can to prevent the unsightly sore.

Be aware of

  • Redness or swelling on your lip and any soft tissues on or inside your mouth, tongue, etc.
  • Be aware of a tingling or burning sensation, possibly itching
  • Notice any soreness or tightness around your lip or mouth

When you 1st notice these symptoms your best ammunition is to call a dentist who has a soft-tissue laser.

A soft tissue, “diode laser,” is painless to the patient, takes less than five minutes and will put a halt to the ugly appearance of a cold sore. The charge for this treatment should not exceed $45 USD.

You can also use an anti-viral cream such as Abreva. This cream will need to be reapplied frequently and can also be costly.

If you have a more serious and a constant occurrence of these sores you will want to speak to your physician to get a prescription for an anti-viral medication.

People with Crohn's Disease, auto-immune diseases, patients undergoing chemotherapy are known to frequently deal with cold sores.

Blisters

An early stage of cold sores is the blistering.

This will occur from day two to four of the outbreak. At this stage you will notice the blister or a group of red, small, and painful blisters which occur around the mouth.

These blisters can fill with fluids to make the skin around it swollen and red. Blisters can occur inside the cheeks, nose, and lips, as well as the soft tissues inside your mouth and even your tongue.

The reason for blisters to occur is because your immune system is working hard to heal the virus. During this stage, you want to continue using an anti-viral topical cream.

Do not squeeze the blisters. Touching and squeezing the blisters will cause transmission of the virus, it will exacerbate the sores and can slow down the healing time.

Oozing

This stage occurs about day 4-5 of the outbreak.

Oozing is when the cold sore is most contagious and painful. The blister can burst during this stage.

This can lead to a red round area of inflammation around the affected area.

Scabbing

Between days 5-8 cold sores will dry out and a scab will form. The scabs can feel itchy, they can crack open, and shrink.

Cracking will lead the cold sore to bleed. Other symptoms that may happen include burning and itching. Your goal is not to pick or peel at the scabs. This may be tempting but it causes pain, damage to the skin, and can cause the infection to get worse and start over again.

  1. Healing

Healing starts between days 8 to 10. 

You may notice the new skin underneath where the scab used to be is reddish and pink, after the scabs have fallen off the cold sore begins to disappear.

The length it takes to go through each stage depends on how bad the outbreak is and when you begin preventive measures to halt your cold sore.

If you do not jump on the preventive measures quickly, it’s likely that the outbreak is going to last a lot longer. there are some medications that will help to limit the amount of damage for the outbreak and can speed up the whole process that we listed above.

NOTE: Always wash your hands well during this stage to prevent the virus from spreading but try not to touch it at all. Use soap and water. A good tip to thoroughly wash your hands is to use warm water with soap and sing your ABC’s while you wash your hands.

  1. Are Cold Sores Contagious?

Yes, you can easily infect others.

Cross infection occurs with direct contact, such as kissing. If you have one of these sores, it is best to avoid kissing anyone until the sore has cleared up. Do not share food or drink for the same glass as a person with a cancer sore.

It's also possible for a cold sore to spread if someone touches the cold sore and then touches another mucous membrane such as the mouth, eyes, or nose. Any time you touch a cold sore, you must make sure to use some warm water with soap to wash your hands to keep them safe and prevent infection to yourself or to another person.

In some cases, it is possible for an infection to occur through indirect contact with the virus. This could be when two people share some personal bathroom items, like a toothbrush, a razor or drinking from the same glass. These are all things that when shared with a person who has a cold sore will spread the virus to another person.

LED Red Light Therapy for Canker sores or Cold Sores

Conclusion

The most effective treatments for cold sores are prescription medications that your physician can give you a prescription for.

It's very helpful to see a dentist when you 1st feel the tingling sensation of a cold sore. A dentist can use a soft-tissue, diode laser which is very helpful to prevent the blistering stage of a cancer sore.

The Celebrity Smiles LED Red Light mouthpiece is a simple adjunct to quickly put a halt to the pain from cancer sores. Check out the Blue/Red LED Light available here.