Cold sores don’t look good. They can also be painful, especially if your glands are swollen and you have enlarged lymph nodes. For anyone who has cold sores, they can make you feel low. You’ll also feel a lot worse during a primary outbreak because the symptoms are much more extreme. It can take up to 14 days for them to go away, although it’s usually possible to shorten the healing time.
Most people don’t want to show their faces in public with cold sores due to the oozing and scabbing. It is hard to cover them up with makeup because they weep and are sensitive (it just doesn’t look right!), but you can cover up cold sores with medicated patches. It won’t take away the glandular swelling, but it will make it easier if you have to go to work or go outside.
Cold sores are caused by the Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). The initial infection will start around 48 hours before the breakout. It is highly contagious which means that you should not share anything while you’re infected. It’s easy to tell when you’re about to develop cold sores because you’ll experience a tingling sensation near to the mouth/lips. You’ll also start to recognize the factors that trigger cold sores.
Normally cold sores have nothing to do with colds and flu outbreaks, but sickness can make you more susceptible. A fever blister can occur if you already have an existing viral infection. This occurs because your immune system is already under attack and weakened.
Glands Are Swollen & Lymph Nodes Are Hurting
If you experience a cold sore outbreak, it’s likely that your glands will become painful, especially during a primary infection. In most cases, swollen glands, a sore throat, irritated gums, aching muscles, and a sore jaw are part of the experience. The suffering tends to be more severe the first time that you get cold sores, but the symptoms lessen significantly in recurrent (future) outbreaks.
The lymph nodes are under stress from an HSV-1 virus attack, which will cause pain. Lymph nodes can be found around the neck and under the arm. If the condition persists beyond 2 weeks and the pain hasn’t gone away on its own, you should seek medical advice. For the majority of people, the swelling and tenderness will go away in a couple of week’s time.
Herpes simplex sits dormant inside of cells to avoid detection by the immune system.
Simple Ways Reduce Pain & Swelling
- Take an OTC pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- Apply a warm compress for 5 to 10 minutes for temporary relief
- Take an echinacea supplement as it’s a known anti-inflammatory
- Salt water gargle to prevent further infection
Cold Sore Outbreaks That Need Medical Attention
- Herpes meningoencephalitis is rare and needs immediate medical treatment. This can occur when you have an existing outbreak along, with another type of viral infection. It can be fatal if not treated quickly, so don’t take any chances.
- You can also get cold sores that are close to the eyes. That’s why it’s important not to touch an infected area and rub the eyes. If you already have ocular cold sores, there are specialist eye drops that can be applied to soothe and clear up the area.
How Do Cold Sores Spread?
- Shaving razors
- Sharing towels and face cloths
- Sharing food utensils, like forks, drink cans, and spoons
- Kissing someone who has cold sores
- Touching existing cold sores
- Having oral sex with someone who has a genital herpes outbreak
Medical Treatments for Cold Sores
There are many OTC medicines for cold sores that work. Treat the blister before it appears. This can prevent a cold sore from forming or minimize the time that it takes to go away.
Most over-the-counter medications contain Benzyl Alcohol which dries out the cold sore. Docosanol can also be added to help inhibit the growth and shorten the healing time. Aciclovir acts as an antibacterial agent to prevent the spreading of more cold sores.
Some prescription medications may have secondary side effects such as insomnia, headaches, and nausea. Medications are not for everyone, which is why so many people have started to use the Virulite cold sore device. This can cut the healing time to just 2 to 4 days.
Natural Ways to Treat Cold Sores
Opting to treat the cold sore with more natural methods is also an option. Eating certain foods will help to keep reoccurring outbreaks at bay, but it isn’t a panacea. It will strengthen your immune system which attacks infections in the body.
Foods That Boost the Immune System
- Eat more probiotic foods, such as Greek yogurt
- Consume more Vitamin C and B group vitamins
- Fresh garlic has antimicrobial properties
- Take an L-lysine supplement
- Eat dark leafy green vegetables that have plenty of zinc
- Green tea helps to boost the immune system
Natural Healing Oils
- One tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water every day reduces internal infections. It is an antibacterial that balances pH levels.
- Peppermint Essential Oil helps with prevention
- Vanilla Oil will reduce the swelling
- Aloe Vera will soothe areas that are sore and red
- Oregano Oil is antibacterial that will clean up the cold sore
Learn How to Keep Cold Sores Away
Anyone can improve their life by simply learning to reduce stress. Stress is one of the known causes of cold sores, so it needs to be managed.
When the body is under secondary stress infections will occur more often. It is your body’s way of telling you there is something wrong. Reduce your stress by exercising more, working fewer hours, and eating nutritious foods.
If you go outside to exercise, make sure that you cover up properly with sunscreen or a hat. Keep the sunlight off your mouth and nose area as much as possible.
There are treatments for cold sores that will help you to heal faster. They won’t help with your swollen glands, but rest assured that recurrent infections won’t be as severe. In the future, it will become a matter of managing the symptoms and concealing the scabs and blisters.