Treating a cold sore is never fun. Cold sores seem to happen at the worst times. They are ugly, painful and a big inconvenience. And they can be difficult to treat, especially when you have a busy schedule.
One good thing about treating a cold sore – it forms on the surface of your skin where you can easily take care of it. If cold sores were internal sores, like some diseases create, they could be life threatening.
For effectively treating a cold sore, you should be aware of the different stages. As you will see, you will use a different treatment based on the stage of your sore.
These are the variations of cold sore treatment methods for each symptom.
1. The first stage of a cold sore is the tingling stage. The herpes virus has become active and is moving to the surface. When it gets there, it will infect thousands of nerve cells in its effort to replicate.
At this stage you should put something cold on the area. Ice cubes in a plastic bag work well. You can also use a cold can of soda. Cold really discourages the virus and can cause it to give up before it actually creates the sore.
2. Once the virus actually enters the cells, swelling begins to occur. Cold application is still the best treatment at this stage. Apply for 15 minutes at a time. This always helps swelling, and does give some comfort.
3. During the next stage, the open wound appears. This is because of the devastation of thousands of cells by the herpes virus. Ice no longer is the best treatment for your cold sore. Your wound is now in the healing stages.
Ice will still provide great comfort, and reduce swelling. But, unfortunately, it slows down the healing process by driving blood away from the area.
The most important part of treating a cold sore at this point is to keep the wound sterile. You should cleanse the wound with peroxide or alcohol. You can get throw-away alcohol swabs from the diabetes section of your drug store. These are very handy. They can be carried in purse or pocket.
One very popular treatment, for this stage, is a product called Campho-Phenique. It numbs the sore for more comfort, and it combats infections.
4. Treating a cold sore during the healing period calls for application of a warm compress. Applying warm, moist heat greatly shortens healing time since it brings extra blood and oxygen to the wound.
Continue to keep the area sterile. Also, continue applying the comfort treatment (numbing agent) of your choice. Keep in mind that most all drug store cold sore treatments are for comfort and have not proven to speed healing.
APPLYING WARMTH. There are several ways to keep the cold sore warm. One way that works very well is using a damp, warm washcloth. This can be heated up in the microwave. Be cautious not to burn yourself.
A better way of treating a cold sore is by the use of a warm tea bag. This not only provides healing warmth, but also applies some great anti-viral ingredients found in the tea plant.