Man with cold sore

Cold sores are some of the most common and irritating minor infections that we can get – and most of us do, at one point or another. Characterized by minor to moderate-sized blisters on, in, or around the mouth, cold sores are painful to the touch and usually take between a few days and up to a week or two to vanish.

Not sure where your cold sores came from or how you can prevent them from creeping up again? This page will break down everything you need to know about cold sores in detail.

Causes of Cold Sores

Cold sores are a manifestation of a common viral infection caused by either herpes simplex virus type I or type II (abbreviated as HSV-1 or HSV-2, respectively).

There’s no need to worry – these viruses don’t normally cause long-lasting problems, although they can occasionally develop into big blisters that may leave scarring if left unattended.

People get cold sores from other people, usually through kissing or other oral activity (oral sex). But you can also get cold sores just from touching something that someone else's mouth contacted at one point, such as a utensil, or shared towels, then touching your own mouth area.

Cold sores are very contagious and can never truly be eliminated. After your first herpes infection, the HSV virus will lie dormant in the nerve cells in your skin. Eventually, it may reemerge as a new cold sore in the same place as before.

You can get recurring cold sores for a variety of reasons, including viral infections or fevers, stress, changes to your immune system, and skin injuries.

How to Prevent Cold Sores?

Because cold sores are so contagious, it’s difficult to prevent them with any real certainty. But if you haven’t experienced a cold sore yet, you can prevent them from cropping up by practicing a few smart strategies.

Some symptoms that may be associated with cold sore outbreaks include itching, tingling, burning sensation, sore throat, nausea, and headache. Small blisters can appear in multiple places like genitals, gums, and the inside of your cheeks.

You should avoid kissing an infected person (this may be difficult, as most people have gotten a cold sore at one point or another). You should also avoid sharing any eating utensils or drinking cups. It’s easy for saliva to be passed between individuals when sharing such objects.

Even if you do get infected with HSV-1 or 2, you can take steps to prevent a future outbreak and avoid spreading it to other people.

Also try to avoid triggers for cold sores, like colds or stressful activities. You should also use sunscreen or lip balm on your face to prevent skin damage and cold sores from flaring up. Sun exposure can be a trigger for cold sore outbreaks. Naturally, you should still avoid sharing razors, silverware, toothbrushes, or other objects that might spread the virus from person to person.

If you happen to get cold sores relatively frequently, consider talking to your doctor about potential treatments.

Have Cold Sores Anyway? Try These Treatments

Once you get cold sores, it’ll take around a week or so on average for them to disappear by themselves. All the while, they’ll be painful to the touch and may pop, spreading infected pus to other parts of your mouth and potentially leading to other cold sores.

Even though there are medications that can help with reducing cold sores symptoms, there are greater herbal options. Rather than letting them sit unattended, you can reduce cold sores using a variety of treatment methods. Here are some home remedies you can try:

Coconut Oil and Cold Compresses

Coconut oil is a key moisturizer and can be effective at keeping your skin and mouth tissue moisturized for the duration of a cold sore. Moisturization is important as dry skin is easier to crack and become damaged, which may exacerbate cold sore formation.

Additionally, consider using a cold compress to reduce any discomfort or irritations around the affected tissue. Cold compresses can cause a cold sore to shrink somewhat, making it harder to irritate your lips or tongue.

Colloidal Silver Serum Spray

You might also consider using a colloidal silver spray. Colloidal silver is a mineral that can be used topically to reduce symptoms of common infections like HSV-1 and 2. In short, serums with colloidal silver kill germs by binding to and destroying key proteins, preventing the germs from spreading or replicating.

Applying a colloidal silver spray directly to any cold sores can significantly decrease their chance of spreading to other areas and accelerate the healing process.

Reduce Stress

Since stress is a big cause of cold sores, you should reduce your stress levels if you want your cold sores to vanish more quickly and to experience cold sores less frequently.

There are three stress-relieving methods we recommend you use:

  • Practice breathing exercises, such as box breathing (taking slow, deep breaths) or paced breathing (breathing in a steady rhythm to calm your mind) techniques.
  • Practicing regular gratitude for the things in your life. It’s difficult for you to be stressed and grateful for aspects of your daily routine at the same time.
  • Various adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha and Rhodiola. Luckily, you don’t have to harvest these yourself – Dr. Livingood’s Daily De-Stress supplement is a great pick for including natural herbs like these in your diet plus treating cold sores.

Oregano Oil + Monolaurin

Using an oregano oil spray or serum can also be beneficial. Oregano oil has high concentrations of carvacrol, which is an aromatic compound that can help to diminish irritation around a cold sore. You can additionally use monolaurin, which is a compound that kills enveloped viruses like HSV. By disintegrating the outer membrane of viruses, monolaurin prevents the virus from replicating and shortens the lifespan of a cold sore. Livingood Daily Oregano Oil + Monolaurin combines these powerful nutrients into one easy to take a supplement!

Summary

Ultimately, there are many different ways in which you might get a cold sore. Fortunately, there are also lots of ways to treat your cold sores over time, especially if you check out our natural remedies and herbal supplements. See what else Dr. Livingood can do for you today by visiting our online store.

Sources

Cold sore - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Preventing cold sores | Harvard.edu

Coconut Oil Moisturizer Do's and Don'ts | Healthline

COLLOIDAL SILVER: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews | Web MD

Monolaurin: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects | Healthline

Cold Sores | University Health Services