Cold sores can be irritating at any time. But, when you’re pregnant, they can cause even more concern. While a flare-up isn’t dangerous for your growing fetus, the discomfort can be extra stressful during such an important time. Many women want to seek out treatment to cure the blister faster but aren’t sure which options are safe during pregnancy.
While there are dozens of cold sore treatment options available, knowing which ones won’t affect you or your unborn child negatively are important. Most over-the-counter medications come with at least a small list of potential side effects. However, they are usually mild, and won’t bother your pregnancy at all.
There are also natural cold sore treatments to consider. These home remedies can typically be found through ingredients you probably already have in your home.
Cold sores will eventually go away on their one, once they run through the different stages of healing. However, if you don’t want to deal with painful symptoms like itching and burning, or the unsightliness of oozing and scabbing, finding an effective and safe treatment is key.
Can I Treat a Cold Sore Safely While Pregnant?
Cold sores, caused by the herpes simplex virus, are localized infections that usually occur on the lip or around the mouth. Because of this, they aren’t harmful to your unborn child. That should be comforting to know because many women can experience frequent outbreaks of blisters during their pregnancy. This is usually due to changes in hormonal levels, and high stress.
Even though a cold sore won’t harm your baby, they aren’t fun. This article will focus on safe treatment options for getting rid of fever blisters quickly and safely throughout your pregnancy. Before starting a cold sore treatment of any kind while pregnant, you should clear it with your doctor or OB first.
Not only is Abreva one of the most popular treatments for cold sores in general, but it’s safe for pregnant women to use to get rid of blisters quickly. Abreva is a topical over-the-counter cream that is FDA-approved to shorten the healing time of cold sores and reduce the severity of symptoms. It is currently the only over-the-counter cold sore treatment option with that stamp of approval.
The key ingredient in this topical solution is docosanol. It is an antiviral agent that penetrates the skin when it’s applied and keeps the herpes simplex virus from spreading. If the virus can’t continue to grow and thrive, it will die out.
Abreva can be a bit more expensive than other cold sore treatment options, but it’s also one of the most effective. If you’re pregnant, it’s also considered one of the safest. So, if you’re looking for a solution that can offer you peace of mind while working quickly to get rid of your fever blister, Abreva is one of the best options.
Australian Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic agent. While you will need to mix it with a carrier oil to safely apply it, it can be one of the most effective natural solutions for blisters.
Simply dab on the oil several times each day. Its anti-inflammatory properties will help to alleviate pain associated with the cold sore, and it will also help to fight back against the virus, weakening its properties and causing the cold sore to fade away.
Tea tree oil has many other health benefits and uses. It’s a great product to have around during pregnancy if you experience other skin issues because it’s safe to use and extremely effective.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is one of the most soothing natural solutions available. You can either use the actual aloe plant or find an all-natural product containing aloe vera gel. When you use it on a cold sore, it can help to reduce inflammation and get rid of any stinging pain or itching.
It also contains certain enzymes and antioxidants that help to promote healing and speed up the recovery process. When pregnant, choosing the most natural form is always best. However, if you use a product that contains aloe vera, make sure the rest of the ingredients are safe and won’t irritate your skin or cause risk to the unborn baby.
While ice may not help to heal a cold sore completely, it is a quick, safe, and effective way to find relief from itching and burning. Apply a cold compress or wrapped ice cube directly to the blister. The cooling sensation will feel great, and the ice will help to numb the blister for a while, so you can be free of pain.
One of the safest ways to treat a cold sore during pregnancy is to change your habits that may have triggered it, and look into some preventative measures. Sometimes, a flare-up occurs during pregnancy because of the sudden shift in hormones.
Unfortunately, that may be unavoidable. But, there are other things you can do to fight back against the virus. These habits may not prevent you from getting a cold sore completely, but they can reduce the frequency and severity.
- Eat foods that will help to boost your immune system. You’re probably already eating as healthy as possible for your pregnancy, but there are certain foods that can help to weaken cold sores and others that can make them worse. Get plenty of Vitamin C, Zinc, and Avoid foods rich in arginine (chocolate, nuts, oats) and acidic foods, as they can make an outbreak worse, and more painful.
- Reduce your stress levels. There is a lot to think about with a baby on the way, but stress can trigger a cold sore and make an existing one worse. Try deep breathing exercises, meditation, or even low-impact yoga. This will bring down your stress levels and reduce the chance of experiencing a flare-up. Cold sores themselves can cause additional stress, especially if they are painful. Combine this preventative measure with a safe topical solution to numb the pain.
- Avoid spreading the virus. Cold sores are extremely contagious, and they can cause a lot of pain. One of the quickest ways of spreading it is by touching it. Blisters can itch and feel irritated during certain stages, so it’s tempting to scratch them. Unfortunately, if your hand touches the blister and another part of your skin, you could be spreading the virus. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face as much as possible. Additionally, when the cold sore is gone, switch out your toothbrush, and be sure anything that touched your mouth during the duration of the blister (hand towels, utensils, etc.) is washed and sanitized before using it again.
- Keep your lips moisturized. You can moisturize the lips with a balm or Vaseline. When a cold sore is in the scabbing stage, it can dry out and become prone to cracking. If it does crack open, it may start to bleed. Not only does this increase the time needed for it to heal, but it may also put you at risk for different bacterial infections, which may be dangerous in your condition.
Which Cold Sore Treatments Should I Avoid When Pregnant?
To know what to avoid completely, it’s important to talk with your doctor. They will be able to give you a better idea of what’s safe, and what might be risky. However, there are a couple of solid rules to keep in mind if you’re unsure about safe treatments.
- Avoid taking any oral medication unless cleared by a doctor first. Some people use oral antiviral medications to fight cold sores. These can block the herpes simplex virus from the inside, but they may be dangerous for pregnant women. You should also avoid taking anything for the pain without getting it cleared first.
- Be careful what you eat. While certain foods can help to heal a cold sore, they may not be beneficial and could even be dangerous.
- Be sure you fully understand how certain treatment options work before you decide on one. Home remedies aren’t always as safe as they may seem, especially for a pregnant woman. While there are many great solutions available, sometimes ideas posted online aren’t always safe. If you’re worried about any treatment, do your research on it or contact your OB for more information.
Should I Be Worried About Cold Sores Before Having a Baby?
Cold sores can be painful and embarrassing. Unfortunately, they can also be a big part of pregnancy for some women. But, should you be worried about them? In most cases, they are completely harmless and won’t cause any problems with your pregnancy or unborn baby.
Avoid anything that can easily get into your blood stream. Most topical agents, such as Abreva cream or natural solutions, are easy to apply and will penetrate the blister, but won’t affect other areas of your body.
If you do need something stronger, check to make sure it’s safe for your baby beforehand. The most reliable treatment options for cold sores during pregnancy are usually the ones with the most natural ingredients. Take as many preventative measures as you can to fight back against the herpes simplex virus, and use ingredients you can trust, and you can treat cold sores safely and effectively at any trimester.