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Natural Cold Sore Cures - How To Treat Each Stage Of A New Attack

Mar 15, 2008
Once infected with the herpes simplex virus, which is responsible for cold sores, the average a cold sore sufferer experiences a new attack once every 10 months. The problem with the virus is that once infected the body cannot get rid of it, which is bad news for sufferers as it means that there are currently no complete cold sore cures, either natural or pharmaceutical; however, the symptoms can be treated and the impact of this unpleasant condition minimized.

There are several distinct stages in the typical cold sore attack and here we look at each stage and how best to treat it with natural remedies.

Stage 1: Tingling

The initial symptoms of a cold sore attack are so mild that they are hardly noticeable, with the sufferer experiencing a tingling sensation in the affected area, which may be experienced as itching, dryness or a burning sensation. However it is experienced, it indicates that the virus is now moving from the nerve cells where it has being lying dormant, to the surface of the skin, which means that the next stage will usually occur between 12 and 36 hours later. The application of ice to the affected area for 30 minutes at this stage can help prevent the sore from being so severe, or in some cases prevent its appearance altogether. Lysine rich foods or supplements are also encouraged to diminish the impact of the sore.

Stage 2: Blisters

Some people experience swelling in affected area and then small bumps that appear to be small, painful pimples, which combine to form a larger, fluid filled blister. Some sufferers also experience symptoms such as a headache and slight fever and swollen lymph glands due to the effect of the virus. Continue to take lysine at this stage.

Stage 3: Open Lesions

The blister usually bursts after a few days, weeping clear fluid. It is important to remember that the fluid is highly contagious and so you should be extremely careful about washing your hands, particularly if you have touched the sore or fluid. Not only can the virus be passed on to other people, but you can spread it to other parts of your own body. The application of aloe vera, lemon balm, a topical lysine remedy or tea tree oil can all help at this stage of an attack as they act both to sooth the pain and reduce swelling and possess anti-viral properties, while covering the lesion with a product such as Vaseline can help protect it from secondary infections.

Stage 4: Scabbing

After a few days the open lesion will begin to scab over, although it can be painful to touch. Cracking and bleeding is common, but with the progression of healing comes relief from irritation and other symptoms. The sore remains contagious at this stage and so care with hygiene must still be exercised, and it is often beneficial to keep the scab moisturized to prevent cracking with one of the creams mentioned in the previous stage.

Stage 5: Healing

After a few days the scabs is lost revealing new skin underneath. Since the sore continues to heal below the skin's surface, itching and redness may continue to be experienced for a few days longer.

As you can see there are steps that can be taken during each stage of a new outbreak. While absolute cold sore cures are currently out of the question, the symptoms can be treated to improve your quality of life during an outbreak, which typical lasts 7-10days. You should also take steps to boost your immune system to reduce the number of attacks you experience, which although may require some lifestyle changes can make a huge difference to the lives of chronic sufferers.
About the Author
If you found the information in this article useful you might like to read more info on cold sore cures at the Cold Sore Treatment Guide.
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