Herpes simplex type 1 virus. This is the culprit to blame if you are suffering from fever blisters, also known as cold sores. If you have an outbreak of fever blisters from time to time, here’s some good news – the symptoms of fever blisters can be significantly reduced with some simple home remedies. The bad news is, though, that once herpes simplex gets into your body, it stays there for good. This doesn’t mean that you will constantly have a cold sore, but it may occur whenever you become more vulnerable to a viral infection.
The outbreaks of fever blisters normally happen when your immune system is weakened, e.g when you have the flu, undergo a lot of stress or when your skin gets a lot of exposure to sunlight. There is no vaccine that can protect you from the virus and the outbreaks of fever blisters, but certain medicines and home remedies will help you relieve the discomfort and pain that they cause.
Causes and symptoms of fever blisters
Fever blisters normally occur in the same place. The virus that causes them remains dormant in your skin after you heal the first outbreak. When your immune system is impaired, the virus attacks your skin and damages the epidermis, which causes the formation a cluster of small, white blisters filled with fluid. They usually occur on the lips, cheeks, nostrils or chin and the affected area becomes itchy and swollen. Since they occur in such exposed areas, they don’t only cause discomfort and pain, but can also make you feel self-conscious. There are no makeup products that can conceal the cold sore completely as the skin in the outbreak place is very rough and peels a lot.
The best way to fight a fever blister is to react to it in the initial stage of the viral attack, which usually is signaled by a tingling sensation in the affected area. Whenever you feel that the virus is waking up, react immediately and apply some anti-viral cream or ointment. There are many over-the-counter products that will help you. Just make sure you have one of them at home to be able to inhibit the virus outbreak whenever the need comes. If you already have an uncomfortable, visible fever blister, try one of these verified home remedies.
Home remedies for fever blisters
In order to instantly relieve the pain and reduce the swelling on your cold sore, you can apply some ice to it. Take one ice cube and wrap it with a clean cloth. Press it gently against the affected area for three to four minutes. The low temperature shrinks the blood vessels and makes the swelling less visible. It also stimulates the blood circulation, which enhances the healing process. Make sure you don’t apply ice directly to the skin and that you always put it in a cloth first. Direct contact of ice with the skin can cause a frostbite.
Another way to soothe the pain caused by a fever blister really fast is using a teabag. Soak one teabag in hot water, take it out and leave it to cool down for a few minutes. Make sure the temperature of the teabag is low enough for you to comfortably apply it to your fever blister. It’s better to wait a few extra minutes than put a hot teabag in contact with your vulnerable skin. Press the teabag gently against the affected skin and hold it for 3-4 minutes. Teabag soothes the inflammation and stimulates the skin cells regeneration. You can repeat this treatment two to three times a day until you see a noticeable decrease in the symptoms.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a very effective antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal remedy, therefore, has become a very popular home remedy for various skin problems. When applied to the fever blister, it reduces the inflammation, soothes the pain and stimulates the skin regeneration process. Tea tree oil that you can buy in a health food store or in a pharmacy is normally highly concentrated so if the skin on your fever blister is open, dilute half a teaspoon of the oil with an equal amount of water or olive oil in order to avoid any extra discomfort. Apply the solution on the cold sore two to three times a day to inhibit the spreading of the virus and to speed up the healing process.
Similarly to tea tree oil, garlic has versatile properties and may help you alleviate the symptoms of fever blisters. Since the occurrence of fever blisters often accompanies a weakened immune system, you should, first of all, give your body a boost by increasing the amount of garlic in your diet. Try to eat 4-5 cloves of garlic a day and you will not only reduce the inflammation in the cold sore area but also strengthen the immune powers of your body and will be better protected from the attacks of other viruses. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, you can opt for garlic supplements. They are tasteless and will not give you the bad breath side effect.