A cold sore is a fluid-filled, painful blister. They usually are found on the mouth and lips but can also occur on the nose. They are usually very small and can spread rapidly on the host victim or from person to person The herpes simplex virus is what causes cold sores. Two types of herpes simplex viruses are known. Type I are what causes cold sores. Type II causes genital herpes. Cold sores are usually fluid-filled as opposed to being pus-filled and will usually disappear within a few days.
After a person is infected with the herpes virus, it travels up the nerves until it reaches a place called a ganglion. These are collections of nerve cells. The virus quietly resides there in what is referred to as a dormant stage. It will then come roaring back to life if, for example, the host is under stress.
Currently, there are several different medications available which can reduce the duration of an outbreak or the symptoms often experienced with an outbreak. Some of these cold sore remedies are available without a prescription. Some are in the form of creams or ointments which are applied to the sore. Others are taken in pill form but these usually require a doctor’s prescription.
Over-the-counter cold sores treatment is also available. These can be purchased without a prescription and provide symptomatic relief only. They do not generally promote healing or decrease healing time. Topical medications that contain benzocaine or lidocaine can help alleviate the burning and itching which are associated with cold sores. Cold sore medication that contains lidocaine can help with the pain caused by cold sores.
Treatment for cold sores is also available in prescription form. Medications such as Zovirax decrease the outbreak’s duration especially when begun before the outbreak is in full swing. The only method for preventing cold sores is similar to that of preventing the common cold which is also spread by a virus and that is frequent in hand-washing with soap.
Home remedies for cold sores are varied and have different levels of effectiveness. Because cold sores are caused by viruses, home remedies will not eliminate a cold sore. Using a home remedy will merely reduce the severity of symptoms you will experience. One of the best remedies for cold sores is to simply avoid touching it. This will keep it from spreading to other parts of your face because we all have a tendency to touch our mouth and then our nose and then our eyes. Above all, you wish to avoid spreading the cold sore to other locations on your face.