Cold sores, sometimes referred to as fever blisters, are an unsightly blight on the human complexion, usually appearing on the upper lip or around the mouth as small, red blisters that eventually seep and scab over. Herpes, a virus that can lay dormant in the body for an expanded period of time before surfacing, is the main culprit in the cold sore department, but other causes such as diet and calcium deficiency have also been linked to the appearance of the blisters.
It may be disheartening to learn that there is no known cure for cold sores, but there are some tried and true methods available that will speed up the healing process, as well as helping to extend the time period between outbreaks. The key to a quick recovery is recognizing the symptoms early on; pain around the lips, sore throat, fever and swollen glands are just a few of the telltale signs.
If you are displaying any or all of these symptoms, then my best advice is to see your doctor before rushing into any kind of treatment. Once diagnosed you will, most likely, be put on antibiotics which will rid you of your sores, but come with a laundry list of side effects including, but not limited to headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. Embarrassment keeps many people from going to see their physicians, and if you are among that group of folks, then here are a few traditional home remedies that may be of help, again though, I have to state that seeing your doctor is the best medicine.
The most common complaint among those who have suffered from cold sores are the appearance of the sores themselves, as well as the pain, sometimes insufferable, that goes along with them. Acidophilus has been known to help prevent the onset of the cold sores. If you feel a burning or itching sensation around the mouth, and feel that it may be the onset of sores, then taking four tablets, three or four times per day may prevent the blisters from actually appearing at all. Sage, mixed in a hot tea mixture, and regular tea bags, soaked in boiling water and allowed to cool, have been proven to speed up the healing process when applied to the lesions. Aloe, chaparral, myrrh, as well as plain old ice are all excellent home remedies when it comes to dealing with the pain associated with cold sores.
With all that being said, a healthy dose of prevention will almost always be the most effective repellent. Looking after your diet, taking supplements such as Vitamins C and E and zinc and, probably most importantly, avoiding contact with those who already have sores will greatly reduce your risk of infection. You should also take the time to do the right thing by informing potential or current partners that you have or have previously had cold sores yourself, doing so will prevent you passing it on and will leave you with a clear conscience.