This is a Guest Post by Ethel Huizar
Fever blisters are also commonly known as cold sores – clusters of small red blisters grouped around the mouth and on the lips. The skin surrounding fever blisters is irritated, sore and swollen. Contrary to popular belief, fever blisters don’t appear in a direct relationship with fever, but represent a contagious disease caused by the one of the herpes virus strains – the Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 (HSV-1).
Fever blisters are prevalent in small groups, often shared by family members, as the virus spreads through sharing of items and kissing more often than not. The virus spreads when a person comes in contact with the cold sores of another person or with another person’s infected saliva. This is why cold sores are included in the kissing-diseases category. However, if you share food utensils, razors, towels, straws, napkins and so on with infected people, you might also contract the virus.
One of the most vulnerable populations to fever blisters is children – often contracting the virus from their parents, but the contagion is not limited to this age group. According to research, it is said that 8 out of 10 people carry the virus – it is also possible to not manifest any symptoms at all.
The Fever Blisters’ Transmitting Mechanism
When a person contracts the virus, it hides inside the nerve cells. Unfortunately, the virus manifests in all its power when the person is subjected to stress. Such physical or psychological stress factors may include:
- Exposure to sunlight
- School / work mental and emotional stress
- Colds and flu
- Other infections
- Lip injuries
- Digestive problems
Fever Blister Symptoms and Duration
Some of the most common fever blisters’ symptoms include:
- Skin tingling, burning and itching around the mouth
- Pain and itchiness around the mouth and your lips
- Sore throat and mouth
- Swollen glands in the neck area but also located to other body parts
- Drooling – in small children before the cold sores appear
It takes around 24 to 48 hours for the fever blisters to appear after the first symptoms have been identified. After they manifest, the blisters usually break open and leak fluid. The painful sores then get covered by crusts and eventually disappear. The fever blisters symptoms can last in between 7 and 14 days. The crusts occur within 4 days after the sores’ manifestation and the complete healing process can take eight to ten days.
Fever Blister Treatment
Before getting into the blisters’ treatment, we should however talk about prevention. In order to prevent the contagion one should avoid exposure to sunlight and lead a healthy lifestyle to optimize immunity. Parents should avoid kissing their children while infected and young people should avoid kissing altogether. Washing hands regularly and avoiding sharing food is also a good preventative measure.
If you happen to get infected and suffer from fever blisters, there are a number of remedies you can consider:
1. Ice Compresses
Cold icy compresses reduce the swelling and alleviate the tingling and itching sensation. Also, coldness can help to prevent the spreading of the fever blisters to larger areas around the mouth and lips.
- Wrap some ice cubes in sterile cloth and gently press and rub them on the blistery areas of your mouth. Make sure you repeat the process every three-four hours. If you want fast and efficient results, also treat the area with a natural lemon balm in between two ice treatments.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda has plenty of uses as a cosmetic product and a home remedy for plenty of health issues. Baking soda is an exceptional anti-fungal agent, used as a natural treatment for sunburn, teeth whitening and dandruff control among others. In the treatment of fever blisters, baking soda becomes an alkaline base which decreases survival of the virus. You are recommended to mix baking soda with water to make a paste and apply the paste on your fever blister. Take into account the fact that the soda might enhance the itchy and burning sensation, so rinse it off immediately if you have an unpleasant reaction to it. Clean the baking soda paste thoroughly and make sure you use natural moisturizing oil with anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties to get rid of the blisters.
3. Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are known for their health benefits. In the treatment of fever blisters you should make a mix of Reishi powder and astragalus to stop the spreading of the HSV-1 virus that causes the fever blister. Regular applications of the mixture can reduce the symptom of the disease, shorten life of the virus, and reduce spread of the virus.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a home remedy recommended in the treatment of almost all skin infections and lesions. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-microbial: applying tea tree oil around fever blisters can help reduce the risk of secondary bacterial infection, and also help speed recover from the virus. Mix tea tree oil with a few drops of water and use a cotton ball to treat the fever blister as soon as it appears. Repeat the process two-three times a day to reduce inflammation and the pain / itching sensations.
5. Aloe Vera
One of the miracle cures and amendments for skin beauty and health, Aloe Vera is a superhero when it comes to medicine and cosmetics. In the treatment of a fever blister, aloe is used for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also works as a powerful disinfectant, reducing pain. Aloe Vera speeds up the healing process, keeping the area clean and moisturized to prevent further blisters’ splitting open. The issue with aloe is that you should have a fresh plant available to extract the gel directly from a leaf.
- First clean the infected area with warm water
- Gently apply the freshly extracted aloe gel on the affected area
- Let the gel completely dry up
- Use lukewarm water and soft cloth to rinse the gel
- Repeat the process a few times a day until the blisters are gone
Remember to always check with your doctor for fever blister professional prevention and treatment advice and never forget that prevention is always the best cure.
Author Bio: Ethel Huizar is a University of Colorado graduate and a Contributing Editor. Having achieved a Master’s degree in Public Health, she became motivated by the desire to help people lead healthy, well-balanced lives; she educates her readers on the ways that nature and science can help them achieve this. Please visit her website at Home Remedy Book.
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