Fast-Acting Home Remedies for Cold Sores

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A cold sore is an inflammation of the skin around the mouth that is caused by exposure to the herpes simplex 1 virus. Once you have been exposed to the virus, a cold sore infection can occur from any number of different factors, including fever, infection, stress, sunburn or food allergies.

Most adults have already been exposed to the herpes simplex 1 virus; luckily there are some easy ways to quickly heal from a cold sore outbreak.

Cover the Cold Sore

Covering a cold sore with make-up may make your face look better but it will take longer for the sore to heal. Instead cover the cold sore with petroleum jelly to keep it safe from bacteria and speed up the healing process. When going outside, use sunscreen on your face to prevent further damage. Over-the-counter cold sore topical cremes with docosanol also speed up the recovery time. Apply lemon balm to your lips daily to prevent further breakouts.

Kitchen Items

Many items you already have in your kitchen act as home remedies for cold sores. Applying milk to a cold sore helps it to heal quickly and when applied at the early stages of a cold sore it can cut the healing time in half. Eat plenty of yoghurt as it contains a substance that kills the virus that causes cold sores. Applying ice to a cold sore speeds up the healing process and relieves the pain.

Medical Treatments

Look in your medicine cabinet for pharmaceuticals and herbal supplements that make cold sores heal quickly. Aspirin curbs the pain caused by cold sores and also reduces the amount of time it takes to heal when taken daily. Supplements containing zinc, quercetin and echinacea boost your immune system, which in turn heals your cold sores more quickly. Products made from liquorice contain a substance called glycyrrhetinic acid that destroys the cold sore virus. Look for real liquorice products as many candies advertised as liquorice are only liquorice flavoured and do not contain the necessary component.

Prevention and Care

When you have a cold sore there are lifestyle changes you need to take into consideration to improve your chances of healing quickly. Throw away any toothbrushes and switch to a new toothpaste tube as these items may contain the cold sore virus or other bacteria. Do not reuse dirty cups, forks or other items that go in your mouth. Do not touch your mouth or face with dirty hands and keep a bottle of hand sanitiser with you to stay bacteria-free.