How to Get Rid of Cold Sores

Once in your lifetime you must have experienced these weird inflamed blisters, which is known as cold sores, in or near your mouth. And you must have thought how to get rid of cold sores.

What are cold sores? Actually, cold sore is a skin condition, which is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is also known as herpes labials, fever blisters or orolabial herpes (a widespread condition when sores appear both on the face and the mouth).

Cold sores take 2-3 weeks of time to heal. They appear in 12 episodes or more in a year as the virus stay dormant in the facial nerves and wait for the right time to reactivate and create cold sores in the mouth.

While suffering from cold sores, the skin around the blisters or cold sores appears red, swollen, and sore.

Symptoms of Cold Sores

The symptoms of cold sores in the mouth and the lips follow a planned journey of 8 stages. By knowing about each stage and the related symptoms, you will come to know how long do cold sores last.

Here you will learn about all the cold sore symptoms to easily detect it.

Stage I: Firstly, for weeks or maybe months no symptoms will be observed. In this stage, the contagious virus enters into the body.

Stage II: This stage lasts for few hours or for few it may last for few days. Remember, this is the stage when you must start your treatment. On the 1st day, you will experience an itching sensation on the skin. The skin also becomes red in this stage.

Stage III: In this stage the skin around the infected area gets inflamed.

Stage IV: Day 2 to day 3 of cold sore is often referred as a pre-sore period. The infected skin gets inflamed pimple-like blisters on it, which pain when you touch them.

Stage V: Are cold sores contagious? This is the general question that comes to mind of the person who suffers from cold sores. For your information, I must tell you that cold sores are contagious.

On day 4, when the blisters of cold sores start to break open, it creates ulcers in the infected area. The infected fluids in the blisters contain the contagious active virus. Some people might suffer from fever in this stage.

Stage VI: From day 5 to 8, the blisters will start crusting, which does not have active virus. This is when the healing process begins. While smiling or eating, the stretching of your lips may open the crusts.

Stage VII: From day 9 to day 12, the healing process would help you come close to the relief phase. The new skin forms under the scab. Itching and pain due to these cold sores inside the mouth are observed in this phase too.

Stage VIII: Starting from day 12 to 14, new cells start generating on the skin.

Causes of Cold Sores

What are the causes of cold sores? The answer to this question will help a lot in finding out the right home remedies to treat it.

Do you know that the cold sores never leave your body once they enter as HSV-1? They move into your body through the broken skin around or inside your mouth and stay dormant in your central nervous system.

Now, if you are wondering what causes cold sores, then you must know that this could get triggered due to:

  1. Stress
  2. Overexposure to sunlight
  3. Dehydration
  4. Periods
  5. Local skin injury
  6. Injury during dental treatment
  7. Weak immune system
  8. Fever
  9. Food allergies

Note: Newborn babies can get the HSV-1 virus from the family members or from hospital staff who act as carriers of cold sores.

Home Remedies for Cold Sores

It is a true fact that home remedies for cold sores are readily available at home. Being natural, they hardly cause any complications in your body, unlike medicines that are composed of various chemicals and cause various side effects upon its use.

Treat the cold sores completely using the home remedies that are mentioned below:

1. Cold and Wet Towel Treatment

This treatment helps to contract the dilated blood vessels and reducing the swelling. Its application helps in proper blood circulation to the area, thus reduces the redness of cold sores immediately.

Things you need:

  • A soft hand towel
  • Ice cold water – A bowl

Things you should do:

  1. Dip the hand towel in the ice cold water.
  2. Squeeze out the extra water from the wet hand towel.
  3. Now apply this cold and wet hand towel on your cold sores on the lips and mouth.
  4. Follow this process at least 3 times every day for 20 minutes each.
  5. Feel relaxed as you see reduced redness and swelling of cold sores.

[Also Read:Tried and Tested Home Remedies for Fever Blisters]

2. Organic Vanilla Extract

Organic vanilla extract contains alcohol in it, which makes it hard for the virus to flourish. You can use organic vanilla extract, which is considered as one of the best home remedies for cold sores. Its use can give you relief from the tingling sensation of the cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Organic vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • A cotton swab – 5 to6

Things you should do:

  1. Soak a cotton swab in the vanilla extract.
  2. Apply this over the cold sores on lips and other places around the mouth.
  3. Do this daily for 4 times to treat cold sores.
  4. Continue doing this to get rid of cold sores completely.

3. How to Get Rid of Cold Sores with Licorice Root

Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizic acid, which works wonders on cold sores. They can stop the virus to act further to aggravate the condition.

Things you need:

  • Licorice root powder – 1 tsp
  • Water – ½ tsp
  • Cotton swab – 5 to 6
  • A bowl

Things you should do:

    1. Mix 1 tsp of licorice root powder with ½ tsp water in a bowl to get a creamy consistency.
    2. Use a cotton swab to apply this mixture on the cold sores and apply a thin layer of this mixture on the lip.
    3. You can leave it overnight for best results.
    4. Repeat this every day to treat cold sores gradually.

[Also Read: Remedies for Chest Cold]

4. Whole Milk

Whole milk suppresses the pain and speeds up the healing process. Immunoglobulin, which is present in milk play the role of antibodies that fight away the virus that cause cold sores.

Whole milk also prevents the outbreak of cold sores due to the presence of L-lysine in it.

Things you need:

  • Whole milk – ½ cup
  • Cotton swab – 5 to6
  • A soft, clean and wet towel
  • Petroleum jelly – 1 tsp

Things you should do:

  1. Take ½ cup of whole milk (if you prefer it cold, you can keep it in the refrigerator for some time).
  2. Soak a cotton swab in the milk.
  3. Apply it directly on the cold sores.
  4. Use a soft, clean and wet towel to dab out the extra milk from your lips.
  5. Leave it for 10 minutes.
  6. Change the cotton swabs every time you apply it on the cold sore on lips and other places around the mouth.
  7. Apply the petroleum jelly on your cold sores to moisturize it.
  8. This home remedy will help to heal the cold sores much faster.
  9. Do this 3-4 times every day to get rid of cold sores.

5. How to Get Rid Cold Sores with Peppermint Oil

Peppermint OilPeppermint oil kills the virus that float around the erupted cold sores on lip. It helps to heal the sore faster.

Things you need:

  • Good quality peppermint oil – 1 tbsp
  • Cotton swab – 5 to 6
  • Fresh water – as per the requirement

Things you should do:

  1. Rinse the cold sore affected area with fresh water.
  2. Dip a cotton swab in the fresh water and then dip it in the peppermint oil.
  3. This helps dilute the peppermint oil with water.
  4. Apply it on the cold sores.
  5. Repeating this process 2 times every day will help you to treat this cold sores problem effectively.

6. Echinacea Tea

You must make your immune system strong enough to prevent cold sores recurring again.

So, try making this remedy as a part of your daily regime as it strengthens your immunity system. This remedy also treats cold sores in the mouth.

Things you need:

  • Echinacea tea bag – 1
  • Boiled water – 150 ml
  • A tea mug

Things you should do:

  1. Place 1 Echinacea tea bag in a tea mug.
  2. Add boiled water to the mug.
  3. Cover the mug with a plate for 10 minutes to allow the tea to steep properly.
  4. Remove the cover and squeeze out all the goodness from the teabag into the water.
  5. Drink it daily to make your immune system go stronger day after day.
  6. Drink this tea 2 times every day to get rid f cold sores.

7. How to Treat Cold Sores with Cornstarch Paste

CornstarchThe use of cornstarch reduces the duration of a cold sore on lip as it can neutralize the pH of the sore.

Things you need:

  • Cornstarch – 1 tbsp
  • Fresh water – 1 tsp
  • A small bowl

Things you should do:

    1. Take 1 tbsp of cornstarch in a small bowl.
    2. Add 1 tsp of water to the cornstarch and mix well.
    3. You can add more water until you get a paste- like consistency.
    4. Use your fingers to apply the paste on the cold sores before going to bed at night.
    5. Keep it overnight and wash off with fresh water in the morning.
    6. Keep repeating this procedure until your cold sore says goodbye to you.

[Also Read: Remedies for Head Cold]

8. Witch Hazel

Sounds interesting, right! Witch hazel is easily available in the market, unlike the previous times when you had to search for this plant.

Available as witch hazel hydrosol, this is a distilled version, which helps you amazingly to get rid of cold sores.

With the skin healing properties, its use can reduce the irritation and inflammation of the skin affected by cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Witch hazel – 1 tsp
  • Cotton swab – 4 to 5

Things you should do:

  1. Soak a cotton swab in witch hazel.
  2. Apply it on the cold sores.
  3. Leave it as such.
  4. Do this at least 1 time every day to get rid of cold sores.

9. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe VeraAre you looking for quick relief from cold sores? Then you must grab some aloe vera gel. It is considered as one of the best home remedies for cold sores.

Aloe vera gel contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which check the bacteria to grow further. Also, with its skin healing properties, it heals as well as soothes the cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Aloe vera gel – ½ tsp

Things you should do:

  1. Take the aloe vera gel and apply it on the cold sores.
  2. Leave it for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Apply this aloe vera gel at least 2 times daily to get rid of cold sores faster.

10. Ice and Petroleum Jelly

The application of ice can offer relief from the pain that is caused due to cold sores. Petroleum jelly with its moisturizing properties will heal the cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Ice cubes – 1 to 2
  • Petroleum jelly – 1 tsp
  • A soft towel

Things you should do:

  1. Apply the ice cubes on the cold sores and hold them on the sores as long as possible.
  2. When done pat dry the extra water with a soft towel.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly on the cold sores to moisturize it.
  4. Do this as many times in a day to get rid of the irritation and pain caused due to the cracking of the skin.

11. Garlic

GarlicIt has natural antibiotic properties, which help to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the skin. It also enables the faster healing of the cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Garlic – 5 to10 cloves

Things you should do:

  1. Peel the garlic cloves and slice them.
  2. Hold the garlic slices on the cold sore until it reduces the tingling sensation.
  3. Follow this process twice daily to get rid of the pain of cold sores.

12. Oregano Essential Oil

The antimicrobial properties of oregano essential oil help to reduce the swelling of the skin and heal it by killing the virus inside the blisters of the cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Oregano essential oil – 2 to 3 drops
  • Cotton swab – 2-3

Things you should do:

  1. Dip a cotton swab in the oregano essential oil.
  2. Apply this on the cold sores.
  3. Follow this process every day to get rid of cold sores easily.

13. How to Get Rid of Cold Sores with Sea Salt

It helps in maintaining the acid-alkali ratio in the body. This makes it a good treatment for maintaining the pH level in the body. Its use checks the spreading of the cold sores more.

Things you need:

  • Sea salt – ¼ tsp

Things you should do:

  1. Take the sea salt and apply it on your cold sore with the help of your fingers.
  2. The granules of sea salt should stick to the sore.
  3. Keep it as such for 10 minutes.
  4. Do this at least 2 times every day to treat cold sores inside the mouth as well as on lips.

14. Basil Leaves (Tulsi)

Basil LeavesIt is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, which make it a great choice to treat your cold sores.

Things you need:

  • Basil leaves – 5 to10
  • Fresh water – 250 ml
  • A pan

Things you should do:

  1. Boil the water in a pan in medium flame and add the basil leaves to it.
  2. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid to get the basil tea.
  4. Drink this warm tea at least 2 times every day to get rid of cold sores.

15. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is the best choice for cold sores as it has antiviral properties. This helps fight the cold sore virus effectively.

Things you need:

  • Lemon balm – 1 tsp

Things you should do:

  1. Apply the lemon balm directly on the cold sores.
  2. Keep it overnight to get more effective results.
  3. Repeat this process every night to get rid of cold sores.

16. Chamomile Oil

Chamomile OilIt has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which makes it as a natural remedy for cold sores in the mouth.

Things you need:

  • Chamomile oil – 1 tsp

Things you should do:

  1. Apply the chamomile oil directly on the cold sores on the lips.
  2. Let it be there as long as possible.
  3. Repeat this remedy every day to reduce the inflammation on the skin due to cold sores.
  4. Apart from that it also helps to heal the cold sores faster.

17. How to Get Rid of Cold Sores with Honey

HoneyHoney is there to treat each and every skin issues. Its application also heals the cold sores effectively. Apart from that it also provides a soothing effect to the affected area.

It contains a high concentration of glucose and fructose, which makes it difficult for the virus to survive, thus stops the virus to spread further.

Things you need:

  • Honey – 1 tsp

Things you should do:

  1. Apply the honey directly on the cold sores on lips and the mouth.
  2. Leave it as such for as long as possible.
  3. Applying honey for at least 2-3 times daily to get rid of cold sores.

[Also Read:How Honey Helps Sore Throat]

18. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider VinegarOne of the oldest home remedies for cold sores is apple cider vinegar and is good for treatment of cold sores as it can kill bacteria. It also balances the pH level in the body.

Things you need:

  • Apple cider vinegar – 5 to 6 drops
  • Cotton swab – 3 to 4

Things you should do:

  1. Dip a cotton swab in the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Apply this on the cold sores.
  3. Repeat this remedy every day to get rid of irritating blisters of cold sores.

[Also Read:Apple Cider Vinegar for Sore Throat]

19. Ear Wax

Sounds gross! However, it is very effective to treat cold sores. Ear wax has anti-herpes and anti-micrococcus properties to fight the cold sore virus from spreading further.

Things you need:

  • Ear wax – as per the requirement

Things you should do:

  1. Apply some ear wax directly on the cold sores.
  2. Leave it as such for 5-10 minutes.
  3. This stops the tingling sensation.
  4. Follow this process daily to get rid of cold sores effectively.

20. Bergamot Oil

Bergamot OilThe antimicrobial properties of bergamot oil work great to treat the cold sores. Apart from that it also offers a soothing effect to the cold sores when applied on it.

Things you need:

  • Bergamot oil – 2 to3 drops
  • Cotton swab – 1 to 2

Things you should do:

  1. Dip a cotton swab in bergamot oil.
  2. Apply it on the cold sores.
  3. Use this remedy every day to treat cold sores.

21. Tea Bags

Tea BagsTea bags with strong healing properties treat cold sores by killing the herpes simplex virus.

Things you need:

  • Tea bag – 1
  • Hot water – 50 ml

Things you should do:

  1. Dip a tea bag in the hot water for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Apply the wet tea bag over the cold sores.
  3. Hold this for 10 minutes.
  4. Do this twice every day to get rid of the cold sore pain.

22. Herbal Formula to Treat Cold Sores

The herbal formula for cold sores works well as this supports your immune system. It also reduces the chances of recurrence of cold sores.

Cleavers has anti-inflammatory property. Echinacea is great to heal the infections. Oats possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Poke roots are beneficiary for your lymphatic system as these cleanse it. Hence, the composition of all these ingredients work swell to treat cold sores effectively.

Things you need:

  • Cleavers herb– 1 tsp
  • Echinacea tea – 1 tsp
  • Oats – ½ tsp
  • Poke root – ½ tsp
  • A bowl
  • A blender

Things you should do:

  1. Take ½ tsp each of oats and poke root in a bowl.
  2. Add 1 tsp each of cleavers and Echinacea tea to it.
  3. Use a blender to blend all the ingredients well.
  4. Take 1 tsp of this blended herb.
  5. Take 200 ml of boiling water in a container and add the blended herb to it.
  6. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Strain it and consume it to fight the cold sore virus internally.
  8. Drink this concoction every day twice a day to get relief from cold sores.

[Also Read:Home Remedies for Runny Nose and Sore Throat]

How to Prevent Cold Sores

You should always take preventive measures to stay away from the repeated illness and prevent the disease to spread further and occur again.

Read on to know about the preventive measures that you can follow to prevent cold sores.

  • Always wash your hands after touching the cold sore
  • Do not touch the eyes after touching the cold sore
  • Avoid close contact with the newborn baby and healthy people as you might infect them with this disease.
  • Children should not be sent to school while suffering from this disease as they may spread it among other children.
  • Do not share the things, like spoon, towel, drinking glass, clothes that are used by the person suffering from cold sores.

Note: The fluid oozing out of the blisters contains the active virus and this makes cold sores contagious.

  • Avoid overexposure to the sun.
  • Eat lysine-rich food as this replaces arginine (that is building block for creating new herpes viruses) and off course avoid arginine-rich food.

Meat and most dairy products like cheese, milk and yogurt are lysine-rich foods. Avoid eating nuts, grains, chocolate and even seeds that are rich in arginine.

  • Avoid eating acidic foods like tomatoes, carbonated soda, vinegar, and citrus fruits as you don’t want the pH level to drop below 7.
  • Keep the cold sore-affected area clean. Manage your stress levels and make sure you take lots of rest.
  • For all the ladies out there, avoid wearing makeup while suffering from cold sores.

After going through all the home remedies and preventive measures, you are now well-equipped to answer the question – how to get rid of cold sores fast and the related troubles.

If the condition worsens and there is an increased pain and itching sensation, then consult your doctor to know the underlying causes of it.

You need to stay healthy and make your immunity power strong enough to prevent the cold sores attacking you, which stay dormant and might be looking for that one opportunity to attack again.

But you know what needs to be done. Yes! You know all the tricks to fail every attempt of cold sore recurrence.

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Hey all, I am Suzanne, I love collecting new information on natural cure for health ailments. I always feel that nature has remedies for all our health problems, we just have to use it in the right way. I am DIY pursuer and thus keep trying natural things to get rid of nasty diseases. You will be amazed to know about the treasure mother earth has and how it can help us improve our health. Join me in a journey which take you closer to nature and keep you healthy.

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