A sure sign of an oncoming cold sore is when your lip tingles or stings a bit, maybe your throat is a little sore and you feel a bit feverish. Cold sores are sometimes referred to as fever blisters and can be quite painful, somewhat embarrassing and sometimes unsightly. That is why, when you get one, you really want to know what to do about it to get rid of it as soon as possible. One thing you have to understand is the fact that there is no cure for a cold sore, there is only treatment because they are caused by the herpes virus and once a person is infected with the herpes virus, it will stay with you for life.
There are over 20 different viruses in the Herpesviridae family, but less than half of them will affect people. The common ones that affect humans includes:
The Herpes simplex virus Type 1, which is the one that causes cold sores, however it can cause sores or lesion-type conditions, such as genital herpes, and also HSV encephalitis and herpes keratitis, which is an eye infection.
The Herpes simplex virus Type 2, which is also known as the HSV-2 and will cause genital herpes as well as cold sores, lesion-type infections, and HSV meningitis.
The Herpes or Varicella Zoster virus is the one that causes shingles and chickenpox.
The Epstein Barr virus is known for causing infectious mononucleosis, which is common in the US, but in different parts of the world, it is associated with nasopharyngeal cancer and Burkitt’s lymphoma.
The herpes virus usually stays dormant for years with occasional breakouts of a cold sore or it can become visible immediately and stay with you for a while. Even when it is dormant, you can still spread the virus to others and that does not necessarily mean by kissing. A cold sore breakout also is typical during times of high emotional stress, catching a cold or the flu, hormonal fluctuations, visiting the dentist or sunbathing. Whatever it is that caused your cold sore to pop up, no doubt you will want to be rid of it as soon as possible. The following are some available treatments that will help the pain and help speed up the healing process.
Treatment Options For A Cold Sore
The best way to treat a cold sore is by trying to prevent them from occurring. Some ways to prevent them from occurring is to stay away from the things mentioned above that can trigger them, especially when the virus that causes them stay in your system for life. Sometimes this cannot be avoided like during the cold and flu season, even when you do everything possible to not get sick. Some things you can do to keep from getting a cold or the flu is to get a flu shot, get plenty of rest, take vitamins, eat a good nutritious diet and try not to get stressed out. Making time for exercise and wearing sunscreen on your face and lips will also help. Still, when all else fails and you still manage to get a cold sore, there are a number of options at your disposal. There are a number of over the counter topicals made to alleviate the discomfort and pain like tetracaine, lidocaine, benzyl alcohol, or benzocaine.
Typically, a cold sore left untreated will go away in about 7 to 10 days, but like most people you probably want to shorten that time as much as possible. An excellent over the counter topical treatment is Abreva, or you can have your doctor prescribe other topical or oral treatments that are creams containing either penciclovir or acyclovir or oral antivirals like famciclovir, valacyclovir or acyclovir. Prescription antiviral creams and oral treatments are usually for people who get cold sores fairly regularly. Even though none of these medications will offer a cure, they can still control how many outbreaks you get as well as their duration.