Medications can accelerate healing and reduce recurrence. Some research has shown that lemon balm extract can also help cold sores get better. Some research has shown that this strong-smelling oil helps cold sores heal more quickly. Cold sores appear as blisters, fluid-filled bags under the surface of the skin that surrounds the mouth or lips.
They can break, ooze and scab and last for about 7 to 10 days. Those 7 to 10 days can be brutal, but you can find comfort in home remedies and natural treatments. About 67 percent of adults worldwide test positive for the virus that causes cold sores. Most of these people will probably never have symptoms, but some may have recurrent seizures.
The antiviral properties of lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, may help reduce redness, 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 from an infusion of lemon balm (tea) can provide similar benefits. Products that contain docosanol or benzyl alcohol may help reduce the duration of cold sores.
Lysine is available as an oral supplement and a cream that, according to a 1987 study, may be useful in reducing the duration of asthma attacks. Ice probably won't shorten the duration of an asthma attack, but it can ease the discomfort and inflammation of cold sores. Apply a cold compress directly to sores for temporary relief. Sunscreen not only protects your lips while cold sores heal, but it can also reduce future exacerbations if you use it daily on your lips.
Look for at least SPF 30 and apply it whenever you wait to be exposed to the sun. This means that if you know that a hot, sunny day at the beach or that stress causes you to have cold sores, try to stay away from those situations when you can. Cold sores usually go away on their own after a few days, but there are several prescription treatments that can help speed up that healing time. You're most likely to get the virus from someone who has an active cold sore, but it's also possible to get it from someone who doesn't have any sores or blisters.
Because stress can cause the herpes virus to come out of its dormant state, reducing the amount of stress in your life as best you can could be one way to prevent cold sores. There are things you can do at home to ease the pain and make your cold sores look better as it heals, from using ice or aloe vera to using the pain relievers in the medicine cabinet. There are products available at the pharmacy that can help reduce the pain of a cold sore or help keep your skin soft while it heals. If you frequently have cold sores, use antiviral creams as soon as you recognize the initial tingling sensation.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for cold sores, and it can take two to four weeks for the cold sore to heal on its own. If you suffer from cold sores and think they may be due to stress, it's a good idea to control it through mediation or other relaxation techniques, suggests Dr. Cold sores are contagious from the time you first feel tingling or other signs of a cold sore that appears until your cold sores have completely healed. Kissing a baby if you have cold sores can cause neonatal herpes, which is very dangerous for newborns.
If the virus causes cold sores, it can be transmitted from person to person through close contact, such as kissing. However, while cold sore outbreaks may be inevitable, there are some things you can do to calm down or shorten their duration. If you have frequent outbreaks or experience some of the serious side effects of having a cold sore, your doctor may consider prescribing antiviral medications. Studies have shown that vitamin C can inactivate the herpes simplex virus, the virus that causes cold sores.