Cold sores, also known as herpes, are a common and usually self-limiting condition that can cause pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are several treatments available to help reduce the duration of the outbreak and ease the symptoms. Antiviral medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir, and penciclovir can help cold sores heal faster. Additionally, cold and wet wipes, cold or cold packs, petroleum jelly, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can provide relief.
Some research has also suggested that lemon balm extract may help cold sores get better. It is important to take preventive measures to avoid triggering an outbreak. If you frequently get cold sores, use antiviral creams as soon as you recognize the initial tingling sensation. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after applying the cream. Avoid anything that triggers cold sores, such as sour or salty foods, and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and swelling.
Do not kiss anyone while you have cold sores, and do not have oral sex until the cold sores are completely cured. Studies have shown that vitamin C can inactivate the herpes simplex virus, which is responsible for cold sores. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin C in your diet. Additionally, it is important to avoid foods that are high in sugar or processed foods, as these can increase oxidative stress in the body and aggravate the symptoms of a herpes outbreak. Certain supplements may also be beneficial in preventing herpes outbreaks. Clinical and anecdotal research has suggested that certain foods and supplements can help reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
Additionally, topical therapy such as compresses may help alleviate symptoms and contribute to the prevention of outbreaks when used promptly. Finally, it is important to remember that herpes can be transmitted through contact with an infected person. Therefore, it is important to avoid sharing lip balm, forks, cups, or razors with someone who has herpes. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, talk to your doctor about taking antiviral medications to stop the spread of the virus in your body.