30 Home Remedies, Treatments and Tips On How To Get Rid of a Cold Sore Overnight
Got a cold sore? Bet you feel pretty lousy right now. Cold sores tend to do that (they also look really uncool), but it’s okay because in this article Beauty and Tips takes a look at what causes them, and how you can clear yours right up over the next few days.
Cold sores sound a lot like they’re related to the common cold. But as you know, they aren’t. Like the common cold, they’re caused by a virus but this time there are no sniffles in sight. Instead, the only thing in sight is an unpleasant-looking, painful blister that everyone can see; cold sores are also cold fever blisters.
Cold sores can show up pretty much everywhere but they’re commonly found on our lips. Other places we might find them include our fingers, chin, cheeks and nose, etc. They’re characterised by a blister that might break, bleed (or ooze weird yellow pus) and eventually falls off. However, before it falls off, the cold sore usually hangs around for at least seven days *shakes fist*.
What Causes Cold Sores?
As mentioned earlier, the common cold doesn’t cause cold sores. Instead, a cold sore is cased by a herpes simplex virus – either type o1 or type 2.
People can catch this virus by coming into contact with someone (or something) that already has it. Most people catch it by kissing another person, but it’s also possible to catch it if you share utensils, razors or towels.
The virus tends to incubate for a period of time. Sometimes, it can be up to 20 days before the symptoms start to manifest themselves on your body. However, a cold sore could manifest itself within just 2 days.
There are things that can trigger a cold sore to form:
- Certain foods
Who Gets Cold Sores?
Anyone can get a cold sore. In fact, it’s reckoned that 90% of us will have at least one cold sore at some point in our life. Typically, the symptoms aren’t as severe after you’ve had your first cold sore, because our bodies usually develop antibodies that are able to either deal with the infection better the second time around, or prevent another attack altogether. That said, almost half the people who have a cold sore once usually get a second one.
Kids are more at risk of becoming seriously ill than healthy adults, but AIDS sufferers are even more at risk and for them a cold sore can even be life-threatening.
Individuals who have eczema are at risk of multiple cold sores at the same time, while everyone is at risk of serious complications if an infection gets into the cold sore. Our vision can be impacted if the infection reaches our eye, and if it reaches our brain we’re at risk of developing meningitis.
How To Prevent Cold Sores?
A little later in this article we’ll take a look at how to get rid of cold sores. But because it would be amazing if we could avoid cold sores altogether, we’re going to take a look at a few prevention techniques you can implement.
1. Wait For The Cold Sore On Your Partner To Go Away
If you have a partner, you no doubt love to kiss them. However, you’re going to have to hold back for a few days until the infection has cleared.
Kissing someone with a cold sore is the easiest way to get one yourself. But because it’s so obvious that there’s a cold sore in your close proximity, it’s also one of the easiest infections you’ll ever dodge. Just be disciplined and forget about kissing or sharing utensils/glasses with them until their cold sore has vanished.
2. Find Ways To De-Stress
Stress can be manageable, but did you know that as well as causing us all kinds of mental strife, stress can also lead to physical symptoms, such as acne and cold sores?
If you’ve had a cold sore once already, the virus is here to stay – you can’t get rid of it. But what you can prevent is a cold sore popping up again. Because cold sores thrive on stress, you need to find ways of de-stressing. Take lots of walks, take time off work, practice yoga, develop a calming morning routine and eat better. Do whatever it takes to take a load off your shoulders.
3. Keep Away From The Sun
This is one of those tips for preventing cold sores that you probably didn’t want to see! But like stress, excessive sunlight targets your immune system. And when your immune system is weakened, all hell can break loose.
We’re not saying that you should stop going out ever again, but if you’re a self-confessed sun-lover, you will need to spend less time beneath those blazing, golden rays. When you do spend time in the sun (and let’s face it, none of us can avoid the sun forever), make sure you protect your skin with sunscreen and lip balm. Give your body the protection it needs. Otherwise, you’re giving the virus a chance to rear its ugly head in the form of a cold sore.
4. Look After Your Immune System
Many of us take our immune system for granted. We barely give it a second thought until things start to go wrong. However, you need to take a look at yourself and the life you lead. Are there bad habits and poor dietary choices that could be weakening your immune system? For example, smoking and drinking too much alcohol can impact our immune system, putting us at risk of more infections and cold sores.
Diet plays a key role, too. If you maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet, you’re giving your immune system a much-needed boost.
Tips On How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore
1. Don’t Use Lip Liner
We know, we know. Lip liner is life. However, for as long as you have a cold sore you need to cool it with the lip liner – as well as any other lip product you usually use. This is going to be unpleasant, but if you follow our remedies and tips below, you’ll be able to eliminate a cold sore in no time at all anyway. At which point, it’ll be time to start applying the lip liner again.
That said, you must never return to any lipstick lip balm, lip gloss or lip liner that you’ve used in the past as they could all be contaminated. Instead, you’ll need to do is – wheather to thoroughly disinfect your beauty products, or buy new ones altogether. This is also unpleasant, but it’s well worth it. After all, you don’t want to give yourself another cold sore.
2. Keep Your Hands Off The Cold Sore
Tempted to touch a cold sore? Want to pick at it? Want to rip it off your lips and set fire to it?! It sure is tempting! However, it’s really important right now that you don’t touch your cold sore with your fingers. If you do, you might cause it to dry out. Worse still, you might give yourself a bacteria infection. And that’s the last thing you want!
3. Apply Ice
Okay, sure, ice is cold. Like, really cold, and for many people the idea of putting ice on their lips isn’t even worth thinking about! However, ice is really good at bringing swelling down. If your lips have swollen because of the cold sore, apply ice to reduce it. Apply the ice briefly before giving your lips a rest. Then, apply it again.
4. Don’t Take Huge Bites
Fancy a burger? It might be best if you refrain from eating food that causes you to open your mouth extra wide at the moment, because doing so can aggravate the cold sore. And when you aggravate it by taking a gigantic bite, it could break open. And when this happens, it might spread all over your lips. Not nice at all, so be careful. Take small bites and eat food that you know doesn’t require you to open your mouth too wide.
5. Avoid Anything That Causes You To Stretch Your Lips
As well as avoiding taking huge bites, you need to avoid anything that might cause you to stretch your lips. For example, all dental appointments need to be cancelled as “opening wide” can cause breakage. Try not to yawn, too.
6. Sleep Upright
If you sleep on your side, you run the risk of fluid sliding down your lips, thereby spreading the infection. While you have a cold sore, sleep upright and keep your head elevated. Use more pillows if necessary. The trick is to make sure the fluid doesn’t settle while your asleep.
7. Buy a New Toothbrush
If you’ve got a cold sore, throw your toothbrush away immediately and buy a new one.
8. Wash Hands Often
We know you wash your hands often anyway (we hope!), but if you have a cold sore, you need to wash your hands even more frequently.
9. Take an Aspirin
If the pain from the cold sore is just too bad and you can barely sleep, one of the best things you can do is take an aspirin, it will take away the pain and it can even speed up the healing process.
10. Cover with Petroleum Jelly
If you have a cold sore at the moment, it’s really important that you protect it as much as you can. Covering it with petroleum jelly helps because it stops the area from getting infected with bacteria, which thereby prevents a possible secondary infection.
Applying a local anaesthetic ointment can also work, but you should use one that contains benzocaine because this will help to kill the pain, at least for an hour or so. What you shouldn’t do, however, is aggravate the problem by applying makeup to cover it up.
11. Avoid Triggers
Cold sores flare up when you give them a reason to flare up. They thrive during flu season, but even the common cold can wake ‘em up and cause them to stir.
For many people, stress is also a trigger, as is extreme tiredness (lack of sleep), changes to our immune system, menstruation, and trauma to our lips.
How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore Overnight? 16 Home Remedies
Dieticians, nutritionists and health experts are in agreement that we should eat garlic at least once a day. Why? Because garlic is a total babe that’s stuffed with all kinds of beneficial properties. Historically, it is known that Louis Pasteur described for the first time the antibacterial effects of garlic in 1858, but more recently it has been confirmed that these properties include anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral agents, therefore garlic is able to speed up the healing time of cold sores, as well as reduce inflammation and swelling. All you need to do is take a fresh garlic clove, slice it up and crush it, before pressing it gently against your cold sore until it stops to sting.
If anyone catches you and asks what you’re doing, just say you really love garlic.
For best results, do this a few times each day.
2. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oil is amazing and can remedy many things. Because of anti-viral properties, peppermint essential oil able to combat blisters, soothing your cold sore and taking away that unpleasant stinging sensation. Get on it by applying a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your cold sore a few times each day.
If you want to find out more about benefits and uses of peppermint essential oil, you can read it here.
3. Liquorice Paste
Liquorice is oh-so sweet and not everyone loves it. But if you’re struggling with a cold sore at the moment, you should definitely think about making a liquorice paste, as it could make all your troubles go away. This is because liquorice contains anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as an acid that is known to prevent the virus from spreading. All you need to do is combine a teaspoon of petroleum jelly with a tablespoon of liquorice powder. Apply it to your cold sore and leave overnight.
Drinking liquorice tea could also help.
4. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel saves the day for literally anything, so it’s no surprise that it can also help you out when you’re suffering from a cold sore. All you need to do is dab a bit of pure aloe vera gel to your cold sore a few times each day until it goes away. Aloe vera is useful because it prevent an infection from developing and it soothes a blistered sore that won’t stop stinging.
5. Red Wine
This one can get a bit naughty, if you find yourself drinking the rest of the wine afterwards but it’s a proven method that works. Pour a bit of red wine into a saucer before leaving. Once it’s evaporated and turned into solidified dregs, apply it to your sore. Upon contact, any pain you’re feeling should ease. Why does red wine work? It’s probably down to its resveratrol content. This is a powerful antioxidant that can soothe inflammation.
Another similar to red wine ingredient that can help fight cold sores is our old, good friend, apple cider vinegar. Simply apply some of it directly on a cold sore, using a Q-tip, repeat a couple of times a day and see the cold sore disappear, as vinegar has been proven to be efficient in fighting infections.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is ideal for fighting cold sores because it disinfects the area, thanks to it’s antibacterial properties, and dries up the cold sore altogether. All you need to do is mix a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide with water (so that it’s a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution) before dipping a cotton swab or cotton ball into the mixture. Then, take your cotton and dab it onto the cold sore. Leave for a few minutes and repeat every few hours for the best results.
Studies have been pretty conclusive where lysine is concerned. If you take it frequently, you can prevent cold sores altogether. Why is lysine so effective? It’s all down to the fact that it’s a potent amino acid that inhibits arginine, a fellow amino acid that’s pretty dastardly. In fact, it’s so dastardly that it replicates the herpes simplex virus!
To nip this malicious activity in the bud, take 1,000 mg L-Lysine supplements each day. If you experience an outbreak, up your intake to 1,000 mg three times each day. We thoroughly recommend to consult your doctor before doing any self treatment. Creams work too, but as a general rule supplements are more effective. It’s also possible to get your lysine fix from food sources, too. The best sources include soybeans, cheese, yogurt, milk and meat.
8. Cold Milk
That’s right – not warm milk, but cold milk! Reckon you can stand it?!
Whole milk is effective at tackling cold sores because it contains immunoglobulins that keep the virus at bay. Moreover, milk proteins have been proven to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Not just that, but – like ice – cold milk does a good job of soothing discomfort and lessening the sting. Take a cotton ball and soak it in a glass of cold milk. Then, just dab it onto your cold sore and leave for around ten minutes. Repeat twice each day for best results. For even better results, drink some milk too, as it contains lysine.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Because tea tree oil contains anti-viral agents, it’s recommend that you use it to treat cold sores. It cuts short the healing process, which means you could be well on your way to feeling better in no time at all!
Add a smidgen of tea tree oil to a bowl and then add three times as much water. Then, dip a cotton ball into the mixture before applying it to your cold sore. Do this at least three times each day from now on, and the cold sore should simply dry up and disappear, as tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial properties.
Another option is to combine coconut oil with tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil in a bowl (equal measures). Again, dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply to the affected area, repeat a couple of times a day. Coconut oil has strong antimicrobial properties, and it contains lauric acid, which is the main acid in coconut oil, in fact, therefore, it can be very effective in treating cold sores too, while eucalyptus oil promotes healing and kills bacteria.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t pronounce it, but echinacea is a potent herb that’s well-known for its anti-viral agents and its ability to strengthen your immune system. It’s also a great way to combat the herpes simplex virus. All you need to do is take a dab of echinacea liquid extract and apply it to your cold sore a few times a day.
Alternatively, drinking echinacea tea can help.
Whatever you do, once the cold sore has gone away, stop using echinacea, as it can have side effects if you use it long term.
11. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm comes highly recommended, because it attacks cold sores on three fronts. It stop the infection from spreading to other areas of your lips, eases pain and discomfort, and hastens the healing process. All you need to do is take a litre of hot water and steep 2 teaspoons of dried lemon balm leaves in it for ten minutes.
Then, strain and drink a few cups of this tea each day. Another option is to buy some lemon balm essential oil and apply it directly to your cold sore a few times per day.
It probably doesn’t sound like cornstarch could actually work, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re reading this with a very sceptical look on your face! We can’t blame you, but the thing is that it does work – and it’s well worth trying yourself. Cornstarch can help reduce inflammation and itching, as well as absorb excess moisture.
Simply mix cornstarch powder with some distilled water to form a paste, and apply it to your cold sore, wait until it dries and wash off. Repeat a few times each day – aim for at least 3 times a day, if you can. Then, feel amazed at the results and make a status on Facebook about it!
13. Zinc Lozenges
Because stress can cause a cold sore, sucking on an immune-boosting, calmness-inducing zinc lozenge can help too.
14. Vanilla, Patchouli And Ylang Ylang Essential Oils
Dip a cotton ball in some Vanilla, Patchouli or Ylan Ylang essencial oils before applying directly to your cold sore. Repeat this a few times per day, as these essential oils are awesome when it comes to treating cold sores, because they can effectively fight bacteria.
It’s not often that Beauty and Tips recommends you use more salt in your life but because it’s effective for treating cold sores, we’re going to include it to our list of remedies for a cold sore.
Dip a clean finger into some salt and apply to your cold sore. Hold for a moment, and repeat three times a day. The reason why salt is so effective in fighting cold sores, is due to its famous antimicrobial properties.
16. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, therefore, it also deserves its place in our list of tips on how to get rid of cold sores. Simply apply a witch hazel solution directly on the cold sore, using a Q-tip, repeat it a couple of times a day and see the problem disappear in no time.
If you want to know more about why you should have witch hazel in your beauty box, you can read it here.
If everything fails, however, and you still can’t beat a cold sore, you might have to take a trip to see your doctor.
What are your best tips on how to get rid of a cold sore overnight?