When you’re mixing and mingling, there’s nothing like the tingling of a cold sore to stop you in your tracks during the holiday season.
While it may feel like there’s a large spotlight shining on the corner of your mouth, take heart: cold sores are always most noticeable by the person who has them. And, they’re a lot more common than you might think …
A whopping 90% of people carry the virus that causes cold sores, and 40% of people get cold sores on a regular basis.
If your name is on the list of cold sore sufferers, don’t let that spoil your holiday cheer. Know what triggers these bad boys of oral healthcare, and most importantly, how to get rid of cold sores quickly so you can be mistletoe ready!
Common Cold Sore Triggers:
- Weakened Immune System
- Sun Exposure
- Poor Nutrition
- Hormonal Changes/Menstruation
5 Easy Home Remedies for Cold Sores
#1: Awesome Aloe Vera
Not just for sunburns anymore! Aloe vera, the sticky gel found inside the leaves of the aloe plant, can naturally soothe and help to heal cold sores faster. That’s because this heroic houseplant has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Aloe also provides much needed moisture for painful cold sores that would otherwise crack open – ouch! – as they’re healing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have a green thumb to get the benefits of the aloe plant. There are lots of aloe creams and ointments that you can find over-the-counter.
#2: The “Oily” Bird Gets the Cold Sore Relief
Look no further than your stash of pure grade essential oils to get cold sore relief. The best essential oils for cold sore treatment include: tea tree oil (aka melaleuca), lemon, and chamomile. Just mix 1-3 drops of your oil of choice with a carrier oil and dab onto your cold sore with a cotton ball or Q-tip. Apply just twice a day to avoid any skin sensitivity.
Tip: When you feel that first tingle and burn on your lips, which precedes the appearance of the actual cold sore itself, spring into action fast with tea tree oil. It may keep the sore from forming altogether!
#3: Sunscreen is Your Friend
Give your lips some TLC by wearing a lip balm with at least an SPF 15 in it every day (yes, even on overcast days). This will moisten your lips to give you comfort during cold sore healing time and help prevent future outbreaks, as sun exposure is a common culprit of cold sores.
Important: if you’re a frequent cold sore sufferer, don’t apply your lip balm directly on your mouth. You’ll want to avoid re-exposure. Use a clean finger (your own 😉 ) or a Q-tip to apply it.
#4: Pay Attention to Your Diet
The lifecycle of a cold sore usually lasts 7-10 days. It starts with a tingling and burning two days before the actual cold sore sets up camp on the mouth. Many believe that avoiding specific foods during an outbreak can help decrease the duration of the cold sore cycle.
For the herpes simplex virus to run its full course, it needs arginine, an amino acid contained in lots of foods. If you’re in the middle of an outbreak, try to steer clear of high amounts of arginine-rich foods, such as:
- Sunflower Seeds
Also, and we realize this may be hard to do with all those holiday goodies laying around, but try and go easy on sugary processed foods, as they decrease the fighting power of the immune system.
A Note on Vitamin C: It’s no secret that Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system. However, when you have open cold sores, it’s wise to avoid the acidic sting of citrusy fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit. They can irritate cold sores that are trying to heal. (Same goes for fruit juice and wine – sorry!) Opt instead for C-friendly foods like red and green peppers or cantaloupe. You can also go the route of convenience and take Vitamin C tablets.
#5: Get Cold Sore Relief with Oxyfresh Super Relief Dental Gel
This is like all the cold sore remedies you just read about all rolled into one awesome and convenient dental gel. Oxyfresh Pro Relief Dental Gel is the dentist-recommended gel that takes the cold sore sting away and promotes faster healing with these superstar ingredients:
Aloe Vera: Many over-the-counter cold sore medications can sting or burn. Not Oxyfresh Super Relief Dental Gel! It’s formulated with naturally soothing and healing Aloe vera.
Natural Essential Oil Blend: Soothing natural essential oils, including lemon, bergamot and spearmint, help relieve the sting and burn of cold sores.
Chondrus Crispus: Also known as “Wild Irish Seaweed,” Chondrus Crispus has been used for thousands of years as a skin treatment. This seaweed is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polysaccharide compounds that have antiviral properties and inhibit cold sores.
Oxygene®: This is our bacteria and odor-fighting ingredient that you won’t find anywhere else. Oxygene® helps reduce oral bacteria while eliminating the odors that often occur during healing.
Zinc: The benefits of zinc include quick relief from cold sores and a shorter duration of cold sore symptoms.
Folic Acid: Folic acid aids in tissue regrowth and helps to bolster the immune system to fight against cold sore outbreaks.
Chamomile Flower Extract: Chamomile is an active antiviral agent against HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores.
Sharing is Usually Caring …
But not when it comes to cold sores! HSV-1 is highly contagious and easily spread through saliva. This goes beyond the obvious way to spread it, which is kissing.
If you have a cold sore, do NOT share eating utensils, glasses, lip balm, razors, toothbrushes or anything else where your saliva could be transmitted to another person. And by all means, no double-dipping in the holiday guac! Also, practice good hand washing, as cold sores can spread to the eyes and nose area.
The good kind of sharing is sending this post to your fellow cold sore sufferers so you can all have a happy, cold sore-free holiday season.