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Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is transmitted by such forms of contact as kissing an infected person or sharing eating utensils, towels, or razors. A person with a cold sore who performs oral sex on another person can give that person genital herpes.Sores may develop as late as 20 days after exposure to the virus. Once the virus enters your body, it may emerge years later at or near the original site of entry. The herpes virus remains hidden in the skin lying dormant between attacks. The virus may be triggered by certain foods, stress, fever, colds, allergies, sunburn, and menstruation.
Traditional TreatmentYou can't cure a cold sore, but you can relieve the pain with over-the-counter products. Also it is wise to avoid spicy or acidic foods.If your cold sore is especially painful or irritating, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication.Alternative/Natural TreatmentsSeveral alternative therapies may help to speed healing and prevent sores from coming back.Aromatherapy - Applying geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) or eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) oils to cold sores every hour may help reduce pain and speed healing of the sores. Aromatherapists also strongly recommend that tea tree oil (Melaleuca spp.) with it’s antiseptic properties be used.Herbal Therapies - To dry up a cold sore, herbalists recommend applying witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Herbalists also recommend applying extracts of echinacea (Echinacea spp.), nettle (Urtica dioica), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and myrrh (Commiphora molmol) to speed healing.Dietary ConsiderationsAvoid eating nuts, chocolate, brown rice, oats, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and seeds. Instead, eat foods high in lysine, such as kidney beans, split peas, and corn.If you have more than three cold sores a year, take 500-mg lysine supplements every day. Double the dosage when you feel yourself developing another sore.At-Home Remedies
* Apply ice to relieve pain.* Apply vitamin E oil to help sores heal.* Avoid becoming too stressful* Use Number 15 lip balm sunscreen.* Cover your cold sore with petroleum jelly.Prevention* Don't kiss someone who has a cold sore or use the same utensils, towels, or razors.* Wash your hands after touching a cold sore.* Don't rub your eyes after touching your cold sore; you could develop corneal herpes, which may lead to blindness if left untreated.* Don't touch your genitals after touching your cold sore; you could develop genital herpes.* Replace your toothbrush.* Take lysine supplements.