Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus. Cold sores are also called fever sores. The medical term for these sores is recurrent herpes labialis. Cold sores which are contagious are generally confused with canker sores. Canker sores are mouth ulcers which are not contagious. Cold sores usually occur on the skin close to the mouth and mostly on the lips. Cold sores can also occur on fingers, chin, nostrils or even genitals. Usually the signs and symptoms of cold sores are seen twenty days after an individual is exposed to the virus. One might see small red or brown, fluid filled blisters on the skin. These blisters have a tendency to burst and ooze. Once these blisters burst, within one or two days they are followed by a tingling sensation.
Headache, irritability, fever are some other symptoms which follow. Swallowing foods or liquids might also become painful. Swelling and itching of the lips is a common symptom. Swelling can be seen in the lymph nodes on the neck. Drooling can be seen in children. These symptoms last for seven to ten days. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus which can be of two types- HSV 1 and HSV2. In most cases HSV1 is the reason behind cold sores and HSV 2 causes genital herpes. But both can infect any area of the body. Other things which might trigger cold sores are pregnancy, hormonal changes, cosmetic surgery, lip or gum injury, dental treatment, stress and fatigue.
A few home remedies can help cure cold sores. Ice and tea bags can be helpful in reducing cold sores. Rubbing ice on the infected skin every few hours will give relief. Try applying tea bag on the blisters every hour or press a warm tea bag on the blisters for 30 minutes. For relief try applying witch hazel on the sores. Apply some common salt on the sores and keep it pressed for at least 30 minutes. Rub some oil or aloe vera gel on the sores. To reduce symptoms and speed up healing, apply some lemon balm extract. People facing this problem usually should maintain a healthy diet. Foods containing arginine such as chocolate, whole wheat, seeds, peanuts, oatmeal, grains and peas should be avoided. Have a vitamin rich diet. Avoid tea, coffee and spicy food. Eat food which is rich in antioxidants such as oranges, pineapple. Include garlic and ginger in your child’s diet.