Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can affect both the mouth and the genital area. A cold sore may signify that the immune system is under stress or compromised. The beginning of a cold sore on the mouth is characterized by tingling on the top or bottom lip, and soon it blossoms into an unsightly sore. It is difficult not to pick at a cold sore, but doing so will make it hurt more and get even redder. You can reduce the redness so the sore is not so obvious.
Apply an anti-viral ointment from the drugstore. Anti-viral treatments are also available over-the-counter in tablet form. These will help suppress the virus that causes the cold sore, reducing its length and its severity.
Apply oils and creams with vitamins A and E to the skin, and dab them on the affected area. These increase the circulation to the skin, improving its healing ability through improved blood flow, which removes viruses and bacteria from the area.
Improve your immune system by eating foods rich in zinc, such as fish and eggs, and vitamin C. Eat a variety of plant-based proteins such as lentils and beans. Lysine, an amino acid in protein, inhibits HSV.
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Dab tea tree oil on the cold sore. Tea tree is a natural antiseptic, so it cleanses the cold sore and kills the virus. It will also calm the inflammation, reducing the redness.
Apply cold items to the sore frequently. If you have an ice-cold can of soda, a cube of ice or a similar item, hold it on the sore 10 minutes at a time. It will calm the inflammation and reduce the redness.
To avoid spreading the virus to someone else, keep your hands washed and avoid touching your face. Cold sores can also be spread through kissing and oral sex. Ask your pharmacist about taking over-the-counter lysine supplements to speed healing of your cold sore.