blisters which form around the mouth and inside the nose; often appearing towards the end
of a cold.
What to look for
itching or tingling in
the skin in the affected area
a number of blisters
usually occur in the one spot filled with a yellowish or white fluid red, painful sores on
or near the mouth, or on fingers.
swollen, sensitive gums
of a deep red colour.
a fever, flu-like
Cold sores, are a painful
infection caused by the herpes simplex virus.
They may show up anywhere on your body but are most likely to appear on your gums, the
outside of your mouth and lips, your nose, cheeks, or fingers.
Blisters form, then burst
within 2 to 4 days and then start to heal by drying up. A crust develops and eventually
falls off, revealing new skin underneath. The cold sore will heal itself usually within 14
Although cold sores
generally are not serious, the infection may be life-threatening for anyone who has AIDS or whose immune system is depressed by other disorders or
medications. In infants, who usually contract the virus during birth, the infection may
spread to other organs, causing serious complications or even death.
Blindness can be the result
if the infection from a cold sore spreads to the eye.
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.
You 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.
therapies may help to speed healing and prevent sores from coming back.
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 its
antiseptic properties be used.
- 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. 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
Avoid 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.
Apply ice to relieve
Apply vitamin E oil to help sores heal.
Avoid becoming too
Use Number 15 lip balm
Cover your cold sore with
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
Don't touch your genitals
after touching your cold sore; you could develop genital herpes.
Replace your toothbrush.
take lysine supplements.
When to seek further