Almost everyone has it, but only a third of all infected people break out – the herpes virus. Cold sores are one of the most common widespread diseases in the western world. 90% of the world’s population carries the virus, which triggers the weeping and itchy fever blisters. Herpes
The first contact, and thus the actual infection with the virus, usually occurs unnoticed at the age of three to five years. The source is other children or adults with cold sores. Herpes is transmitted through droplet infection or through direct contact (e.g. kissing, touching the infected area, sharing drinking vessels).
The herpes simplex virus (HSV) attacks the topmost cells of the skin. Small, oozing bubbles develop here. The skin is red and sore. The virus moves from the epidermis via the nerve tracts to the nerve roots, where it lingers in a kind of twilight state. As soon as the immune system is weakened, the virus becomes active again and spreads back to the skin in the opposite direction. There it reappears in the form of a cold sore.
Reinfection can be caused by external and internal causes:
- intensive sunlight or UV radiation
- minor injuries
- severe irritation to the skin
- dental treatments
- Period complaints
- Tumour diseases
The first signs of cold sores are tightness and itching. Small, weeping blisters appear within a very short time. They heal with crust formation within eight to ten days. You can infect other people with the virus up to the complete encrustation of the lip vesicle.
Since there is no vaccination against HSV, the primary goal of treatment is to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the time it takes to heal. On the one hand you can find different preparations in the pharmacy. They usually help quickly and effectively. Creams with the active ingredients acyclovir and penciclovir penetrate the top layer of skin and stop the herpes viruses from multiplying. Gels with zinc sulfate dry out the blisters and prevent them from spreading to areas of skin that are still healthy. In addition, zinc has a positive effect on wound healing. If you apply the cream when the fever blister announces itself by a tingling sensation, then in the best case scenario the disease can only manifest itself as a reddened area of skin.
But there are also some home remedies for annoying cold sores. The best recipe is honey. Honey is not only a good spread, it also has an antibacterial effect. If you dab honey on the affected area several times a day, the herpes viruses are killed and the skin can regenerate.
Japanese microbiologists have proven the effectiveness of an extract from black currants. Currant extract influences the attachment of HSV to the cell membrane and leads to an inhibition of virus replication. Dab the fever blister with currant juice several times a day for faster healing.
Like honey, tea tree oil has an antibacterial effect. In addition, the substance has a strong drying effect, which means that the liquid-filled blister disappears more quickly. When using tea tree oil, however, you have to be careful not to apply this to healthy areas of skin, because it quickly becomes brittle and a new breeding ground for viruses is created.
A well-tried home remedy is to spread toothpaste. However, it has no antibacterial effect, it just dries out the blister. Melissa oil, on the other hand, relieves itching. To achieve a particularly good effect, you can mix toothpaste with lemon balm oil and honey and apply this cream.