Cold sores are small lesions (fluid-filled) that are triggered by a viral infection. Often confused for blisters, the virus responsible for cold sores is the HSV Type 1 (Herpes Simplex Virus). The Herpes virus is also known to affect other body parts including the eyes (Ocular Herpes) and the fingers (Herpetic Whitlow). In most of the cases, these itchy and painful lesions appear on the lips or close to the mouth (rarely inside the mouth). The cold sores appear when the HSV-1 virus gets into your body and undergoes reproduction and multiplication thereby damaging the skin.
Some of the symptoms associated with cold sores include
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A person with cold sores often complain of a pain (around the mouth or on the lips, often before the outbreak), itchiness, skin irritation and redness. There may be fever, sore throat, or the glands may swell up. There is muscle pain. The cold sores and the associated symptoms may improve within a week or two, but the HSV-1 virus continues to thrive within the host body. As a result, the cold sores may keep recurring (as the virus becomes reactive).
In the case of cold sores, it is essential to be careful with your diet. Include foods that are rich in
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The diet and choice of foods can play a pivotal role in preventing cold sores. Foods rich in Zinc (salmon, turkey, eggs, chicken, yogurt, chickpea) and Vitamin C (oranges, kiwi, strawberry bell peppers, Brussels sprouts) are necessary to strengthen the immunity. Foods rich in Vitamin E such as almonds, sweet potatoes, avocados can provide relief from the cold sores related pain and discomfort. L-lysine can work wonders to reduce the infections triggered by Herpes Simplex Virus.
To manage cold sores, one should try to reduce the stress level
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The appearance of cold sores is found to be accelerated and aggravated by stress, anxiety, fever, menstruation and also increased exposure to the sun rays. While avoiding stress is essential one should practice a healthy personal hygiene:
Make sure to wash the hands every time you touch the cold sores.
Do not share your personal belongings with anyone.
Use sunscreen while stepping outside.
Avoid physical contact with newborns and infants
Avoid salty and spicy foods as they can aggravate the cold sores.
The use of cold compress can aggravate the cold sores.
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The use of cold compress can provide some respite from the pain and discomfort. The use of antiviral creams such as Acyclovir can provide immense relief. For unbearable pain, doctors might prescribe the use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. In addition to the above treatments, the use of aloe vera gel and petroleum jelly on the cold sores can ease the discomfort to a great extent. In case of severe pain and itchiness with the lesions lasting for more than two weeks, seek medical assistance.