The Most Effective Treatments and Cures for Cold Sores (Herpes labialis)
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Cold sores are the manifestation of the Herpes Simplex Virus. Over eighty percent of the human population carries the virus, with many catching it when they are toddlers or children. Most people go through their entire lives without knowing they have ever been exposed to the disease, as only twenty percent of carriers every get the symptoms. That vast majority, who never get cold sores, are the lucky ones.
For those who are unfortunate enough to get the lesions, the first outbreak is generally
the worst; the virus not only presents itself as painful cold sores on lips, around
the mouth and fingers, but may also bring fever. There are several factors that can
precede recurrences, including hormonal changes, illness, and stress, and the recurrences
generally follow a predictable course. Even though the subsequent outbreaks aren't
as bad as the initial one, every cold sore sufferer counts the days until the outbreak
There are eight identifiable cold Sore stages, and you are contagious through almost all of them. The first stage is latency; this describes you at all times except for when you are actually suffering an outbreak, in that once you have Herpes Simplex, the virus permanently resides deep in your nerve cells.
The only time that you are not in a latent stage is when you are in an acute stage, which lasts an average of two weeks and is heralded by the prodromal stage. This is when you get your first inkling that a cold sore is about to appear. The virus is travelling from your nerves to the surface of your skin, and you will feel itching, burning and sensitivity.
The moment you start feeling the tingling and burning that lets you know a cold sore is coming is the time to start administering home remedies for cold sores.
There is evidence that certain medications are effective at shortening the duration of the outbreak. The next phase, when the cold sore becomes evident, is the inflammatory phase. The viral cells are replicating quickly in your skin, and your cells are reacting by swelling and turning red. Inflammation leads to cold sore vesicles, tiny blisters that are hard, grouped closely together, and extremely painful.
They develop into the fifth stage, which is the characteristic open sore. This is
when a cold sore sufferer is most contagious; the vesicles have merged into one single
lesion and burst open, draining infectious fluid that can be spread to others through
contact. Cold sore treatment at this point is aimed at containment and alleviating
Once the cold sore has started weeping fluid, all treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms and shortening the course of the outbreak. Various home remedies and natural medicines can be used, but do not put any makeup or concealer on the lesion; it will prolong the outbreak and may make it worse.
Once the sore starts drying out, it enters the sixth phase, which is crusting. This stage is unattractive, but is indicative that healing is beginning. The lesion will still be painful and contagious. The healing stage begins the way that the outbreak does, from the inside out. The viral cells stop replicating and begin retreating back to the ganglial cells from which they came. New skin forms under the scab and the scab eventually sloughs off. You may still feel some itch through the healing period.
Finally, the post scab phase arrives. Be aware that you are contagious until the red mark that has been left behind is gone.
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