Treating a cold sore is never fun. Cold sores seem to happen at the worst times. They are ugly, painful and a big inconvenience. And they can be difficult to treat, especially when you have a busy schedule.
One good thing about cold sores - they form on the surface of your skin where you can easily take care of them. If they were an internal sore, like some diseases, they could be life threatening.
In treating a cold sore, it is important to know the various stages. Each stage or symptom requires a different care procedure.
Here are the best treatments for your outbreak based on the symptoms.
1. Itching or tingling is the first sign of a sore. This tells you that the herpes simplex virus has come out of latency and has moved to the surface to replicate. It replicates by entering the cells and forcing them to create clones of the virus.
Applying ice, or any cold object, improves comfort. It also greatly discourages the virus and can actually prevent new outbreaks from occurring.
2. If you miss the tingling stage, the virus will enter the cells. This infection causes swelling. Application of ice is still the treatment of choice with these cold sore symptoms. This reduces swelling, reduces the heat in the area, and does give some comfort.
3. If you did not stop the virus before this point, the sore will now break open and start weeping fluid teaming with new virus. This is caused by the destruction of thousands of nerve cells. From this point forward, your sore is in the healing phase.
Ice can continue to give you much comfort and swelling reduction. However, ice will also slow down healing because it drives blood away from the damaged area.
Treating a cold sore at this stage primarily requires you to cleanse the wound as often as possible with alcohol or peroxide. I prefer peroxide because it also adds some extra healing oxygen to the sore.
One very popular treatment, for this stage, is a product called Campho-Phenique. It numbs the sore for more comfort, and it combats infections.
4. The healing period for your outbreak continues until the final red spot disappears. Treating a cold sore, during all the healing period, should include applying heat. This will bring additional blood to the area for very fast healing results.
Keep cleansing the area, even when scabbed over. Keep using the Campho-Phenique or whatever treatment you choose. Drug store cold sore treatments are great for comfort. But they generally will not shorten the duration by any measurable degree.
APPLYING WARMTH. There are several ways to keep the area warm. One way that works very well is using a damp, warm washcloth. This can be heated up in the microwave. Be cautious not to burn yourself.
A better way of treating a cold sore is by the use of a warm tea bag. This not only provides healing warmth, but also applies some great anti-viral ingredients found in the tea plant.
CAUTION. Cold sores, and the herpes virus that causes them, are extremely contagious. This is true, not only for infecting your friends, but other spots on your body as well.
Each cold sore family creates cold sores in the same area of initial infection. If you have a sore on your nose, and one on your lip, these are caused by two separate infections.
The most troublesome is spreading it to your eyes. This can cause permanent vision loss.
When you are treating a cold sore, protect your fingers from being contaminated. If you must itch or treat the sore, use a tissue or cotton ball. Wash your hands after treatment. The use of hand sanitizing lotion is an excellent way of preventing the spread of the disease.
In conclusion, keep in mind to apply cold when the sore is being created and heat during the healing phase. Continue to cleanse the wound and wash your hands often when treating a cold sore.