You cannot hide anything that crops up on your face, cold sores being one of them. Cold sores are tiny fluid filled fiery red blisters that appear on the outer edge of the lips. This painful condition is also called fever blisters or herpes labialis; the lesions are caused by a strain of contagious type 1 herpes simplex virus.
Many times people get confused by cold sores and canker sores. They both are different conditions. Canker sores appear in the mouth. They are small, round white patches with a shallow area in the middle which is red in color. Canker sores are not contagious in contrast with cold sores.
Although there is no definite cure for cold sores, it is possible to reduce the severity, intensity and duration of cold sore symptoms.
Symptoms of Cold Sores or Blisters on Lips
Usually when the virus enters the body for the first time mainly in children, it may or may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms appear, they are tingling sensation in the outer surface of the lips and mouth. Soon fluid filled tiny cluster of fluid filed blisters appear within one or two days. The base of lips is red and painful. There may be associated fever, weakness, soreness in mouth and throat. There is associated enlargement of lymph glands in the neck. Patient finds difficulty to swallow food and drinks. This is more common among children.
Cold sores usually reappear during adulthood after number of years of latency. When they appear, there is slight tingling and burning sensation in the beginning. After a day, the blisters appear. They burst after few days and form crusts. The crust eventually dries and falls after few days. Till the time cold sores dry they remain infectious.
Home Remedies for Treating Cold Sores
Cold sores usually remain for 1 to 2 weeks after which they dry. Though there are several over the counter medicines available, you may try home remedies which are free from side effects and help to reduce the period and pain from the condition. However if the sores come very often or remain for a long time, you need to consult a physician.
- Tea bags: you can apply tea bags on the affected area. The tannic acid in tea is useful in reducing the symptoms of cold sores. Apply cold tea bags, for this dip the tea bag in cold water and apply on the blisters at least 3 times in a day.
- Witch hazel: it is an important home remedy for cold sores as the chemical present in it helps to reduce the symptoms of cold sores.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is another useful home remedy for cold sores on lips.
- Licorice: you can chew licorice or apply the powder and sprinkle on the cold sores. Glycyrrhizic acid present in licorice prevents the virus to multiply. Use of Licorice for a long term may be harmful, before using it you should ask your doctor.
- Milk: milk is known to benefit cold sore problems. Soak cotton ball in cold milk and apply it on the sores.