Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sore can be triggered by trauma, fatigue, fever, cold/flu, hormones, sun exposure, cold weather or stress. A cold sore is the result of a compromised immune system. There is no real cure for a cold sore. All we can do is to make the best effort at making ourselves comfortable and reasonably well. Cold sores generally heal on their own without treatment within 8-10 days. But medications may slightly reduce the duration of cold sores and sometimes prevent a future outbreak.

For treatment of cold sores, the following medications may reduce the severity and duration of the outbreak.

  • Topical creams or ointments, which are available with or without a prescription, can reduce pain, itching, and healing time.
  • Oral antiviral medications, which are available by prescription, may be used when the first symptoms (such as burning or itching) develop. These medications have little effect once the sore develops.
No complementary medicines have been proved through scientific studies to be effective in the treatment or prevention of cold sores. But several complementary treatments are available if you wish to try an alternative way to ease your symptoms. Vitamin C, lysine supplements, and lemon balm are examples of complementary treatments that may provide some relief during a cold sore outbreak.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb in the mint family. It grows to 70-150 cm tall and its leaves have a gentle lemon scent.

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