Cold sores are generally caused by herpes simplex virus. Many people out there including adults and children gets infected by the virus during a skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. As of now, there’s no cure to get rid of herpes simplex virus(HSV). Once you’ve been exposed to it, the virus will always stay in your body, causing cold sores each time they are triggered. Cold sores appear as small blisters that develop on the lips, around the mouth or nose. Although, cold sores can occur on many different parts of the body but they are commonly seen around the lips, cheeks and nose.
However, cold sores can be small but they can be very painful. The outbreaks often occur when the HSV virus becomes activated, especially during sickness, stressful periods and infections. Once a cold sore develops, it usually go away on its own in two to four weeks. But with effective treatments, you can shorten the healing duration, relieve the symptoms, and reduce the chances of recurrences.
How to get rid of a cold sore
There are a number of ways on how to get rid of a cold sore overnight. Below is a list of the most effective and proven home remedies that can help to get rid of a cold sore. Most of these remedies can clear out cold sores overnight, forever.
1. Petroleum jelly or honey
Applying a petroleum jelly such as vaseline or honey over cold sores, will help keep the sores moist and prevent your skin from cracking. The moisture and the protective seal provided by these jelly over the sores will speed up the healing. Moreover, honey on its own has a strong antiviral and antibacterial properties which can protect the cold sores against additional threats while also fighting the underlying virus.
Remember, don’t ever use your fingers to apply the jelly over your cold sores, the virus could easily spread to your fingertips. During applications, ensure to always use cotton balls or swab to apply the jelly as needed over the sores until they heal completely.
2. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has a powerful antiseptic and antiviral properties, which makes it effective for treating cold sores. The application of hydrogen peroxide over cold sores will help to reduce inflammation and fight the underlying virus causing the sores. What hydrogen peroxide actually does is that it interrupts the activities of the herpes simplex virus. In addition, it drys out the sores, shrinking them to the minimally visible mark. All these contributes to shorten the healing time and reduced cold sores symptoms.
To try this remedy, you will need to get a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and some cotton balls. Soak your cotton ball in one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and hold it directly over the cold sore for about five minutes. Afterwards, ensure to rinse off the hydrogen peroxide from your face using cold water. Ensure to throw away used cotton balls and use new ones during each application.
Ice has an excellent anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties. Placing an ice pack on your cold sores for about 3 times every day for 10 minutes at a time will help to reduce the swelling, redness, itching and pain. Get some ice cubes and wrap them in a towel. Consider pressing the wrapped ice cubes directly on your cold sores until the cold has numbed the pain and remove it shortly after.
However, according to studies, placing ice cubes directly on open cold sores can actually hinder the healing as they tend to slow down blood flow around the area. So, if your cold sores are already broken open, you should go for any other alternative contained in this article.
4. Licorice root
Licorice root contains an active ingredient known as glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizic acid, which is found in licorice root has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and can help relieve symptoms and inhibit the growth and replication of the virus. (1) in order to increase the effectiveness, licorice root powder is usually mixed together with the petroleum jelly, to speed up the healing process of the cold sore.
To prepare this remedy, you will need a tablespoon of licorice root powder or extract, 1/2 teaspoon of water and two teaspoons of petroleum jelly. Mix these ingredients thoroughly to create a fine paste. Apply the paste directly onto the cold sore, covering it completely, and let it sit for several hours or even overnight. (2) This particular remedy causes the cold sores to dry out quickly and also heal within a short period of time.
Strengthening your body’s immune system is an effective way to fight off viral infections. (3) Echinacea helps to strengthen the immune system, giving your body the much needed support to fight the cold sores naturally. Echinacea tea can give you much of these needed benefits. Steep 1 bag of echinacea tea in a glass of boiled water for about 10 minutes. Drink about two to three cups of this herbal tea every day until the cold sore heals completely.
Alternatively, you can take 300 mg of echinacea supplements for about four times every day to strengthen your immune system as well. However, this particular remedy might not be helpful for people with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, tuberculosis, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, liver disorders and HIV/AIDS.
6. Lemon balm oil & tea
According to studies, lemon balm oil contains plant chemicals which play a significant role in the herbes relaxing and antiviral effects. The oil is very effective for reducing redness and inflammation in cold sores while also decreasing the risk of recurrent infections, due to its powerful antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Lemon balm tea on the other hand heals wounds and also has antiviral properties. Both the oil and tea can interupt the activities of the virus responsible for cold sores, causing the sores to heal quickly.
You can apply lemon balm oil directly to the cold sore with cotton swab. After each application, you should allow the oil to sit on your skin for 15 minutes, making sure that the oil dry on its own. Alternatively, you can make lemon balm tea by steeping a ¼ teaspoon of dried lemon balm in one cup of warm water for about five minutes. Remember to drink the tea once it’s ready, don’t add any sweetener.
7. Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel has an excellent antiviral and antibacterial properties which makes it an effective remedy for treating cold sores and topical skin infections. (4) The application of aloe vera gel directly on cold sores, will help to soothe the pain of a cold sore, speed up the healing process and also fight the bacteria threatening to infect the sore and worsen your condition. If you have access to an aloe vera plant, break off a fleshy leaf and apply the gel right to your cold sores.
If you don’t have one around, ensure to buy only a good quality and 100% natural aloe vera gel. You can apply the gel directly to your cold sores using some cotton balls. After each application, don’t reuse the same used cotton ball, allow the gel to stay on your sores for at least five minutes before rinsing it out with clean water. The best time to apply this remedy is before you go to bed, you can let the gel stay on your sores overnight.
8. Milk and yogurt
Milk and yogurt are very effective for fighting the virus responsible for cold sores. Milk contains antibodies that can fight off viruses, and lysine, which can fight arginine, a certain amino acid that can cause cold sore outbreaks. Yogurt on the other hand contains probiotics which can help fight the herpes simplex virus causing the cold sore. (5) These two remedies wil not only help in clearing the infection but they also reduce the discomforts and pain caused by cold sores.
To try this remedy, you will need to get some cotton balls and a teaspoon of cold milk or yogurt. Soak a cotton ball in one tablespoon of cold milk or yogurt and apply it directly to the cold sores. Allow the milk or yogurt to stay for at least 3 minutes before rinsing it out with clean water. You can repeat this particular remedy for several times every day until the cold sores clears.
You can also check on my previous posts to see –
- Effective medications and treatments for cold sores.
- Toothpaste on cold sores.
- Symptoms of cold sores.
- Cold sores pictures.