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Cold Sores | Clear Probiotics
Wellness A to Z

Cold Sores

Apr 12, 2022

What Are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are small, fluid-filled blisters that are found on the lips and around the mouth. You may also know these unsightly sores as fever blisters, lip sores, lip blisters, canker sores*, oral herpes or herpes labialis. When the blisters erupt, it's usually called an "outbreak," and they typically show up grouped in clusters. The sores can be painful and stick around for 2-3 weeks without any intervention [1].

There is no cure for cold sores, as there is no cure for herpes.

What Can Cause Cold Sores?

Those annoying tiny blisters are often called 'oral herpes' because they are caused by the herpes simplex virus hsv type 1 (HSV-1). A lip sore does not mean you have an STD, genital herpes is a different form of the herpes simplex virus. But it is a highly contagious viral strain spread through your saliva or close contact with an infected person. Kissing and sexual activity, sharing drinks, shared eating utensils, straws, or even lip balm can spread the virus. HPV-1 can remain dormant (inactive) until something triggers it.

Once the virus wakes up, it travels through your facial nerves to your lips, causing a cold sore outbreak. Once the lip sores heal, the virus is asleep until the next time. Unfortunately, it's hard to pinpoint what triggers outbreaks because that trigger can be different for other people. Cold sores are triggered by various factors, including:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Sunburn
  • Stress
  • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Changing hormonal levels (menstruation or pregnancy
  • Fatigue
  • Illnesses with fever such as cold or flu
  • Dry, chapped or cracked lips [2]

Symptoms of Cold Sores

Some people may never experience a cold sore outbreak, while others may feel unwell due to flu-like symptoms and ulcers around the mouth. Symptoms of herpes can manifest differently in each person. Common signs or stages associated with cold sores:

  • Tingling lips. Most people have the sensation of itching, burning or tingling lips within 24 hours before small painful spots appear.
  • Blisters form. Lips will be red, swollen and painful as those spots erupt into blisters.
  • Weeping. Blisters rupture over the next few days and ooze clear or yellow fluid.
  • Open sores. Within five days, when the lip blisters appear, they may look like shallow sores that crust and scabs over. Bleeding or cracking may occur during healing.
  • Scabs. When the scab comes off, there may be pink skin underneath. The fresh-looking skin eventually disappears as the cold sores heal entirely over the next few weeks [2].

First-time outbreak symptoms tend to be more pronounced with the person possibly experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Fever
  • Painful gums
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes [3]

Natural Ways To Reduce Cold Sore Outbreaks

Like most people, you want that awful cold sore to disappear overnight. Usually, cold sore infections will eventually heal without medical intervention. While no one can promise a miracle, some natural ingredients help speed the healing of lip blisters and reduce the frequency of their occurrence. 

You can try these natural remedies at home to ease pain, inflammation and possibly prevent future outbreaks:

  • Lysine - Available in an oral, probiotic-based supplement or lip creams
  • Vitamin C and E - Both antioxidants may assist the body in fighting off HPV-1, preventing new cold sores
  • Lemon Balm - A potent antiviral, this herbal extract may relieve symptoms related to cold sores while helping to heal them.
  • Manuka Honey - Studies find that this unique honey is effective as a topical when applied to those painful blisters. 
  • Ice - An ice pack can soothe cold sores temporarily (do not apply ice or ice packs directly to lip skin)[4]

Supplements That Can Help Stop Cold Sore Outbreaks

Oral herpes or cold sores are annoying, especially when they pop up before a special event. Unfortunately, the virus that causes your painful lip sores does not have a cure. However, our probiotic-based supplement, Clear Lip & Skin Health, contains the following ingredients proven to help heal cold sores and reduce the frequency of outbreaks:

Clear Probiotics Products For Cold Sores

Clear Lip & Skin Health probiotics-based supplement heals lip issues from the inside out. Our ProbioticsPLUS blend of probiotics, prebiotics, and therapeutic ingredients go to work on improving gut health. Once your gut-brain axis is restored and your immunity strengthened, your body is ready to prevent cold sores and lip problems and heal cracked sore lips. Taken daily, you'll also notice a marked improvement in your skin's appearance.

Resources:

  1. Cedars-Sinai: A Non-Profit Hospital in Los Angeles. (n.d) Diseases & Conditions: Cold Sores. [Internet] Accessed March 25, 2022: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cold-sores.html 
  2. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d) Diseases & Conditions: Cold Sores. [Internet] Accessed March 25, 2022: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21136-cold-sores 
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020) Diseases & Conditions: Cold Sore. [Internet] Accessed March 25, 2022: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20371017 
  4. Smile Arizona Dentistry. (2021) How Can I Treat Cold Sores Naturally?. [Internet] Accessed March 25, 2022: https://www.smilearizonadentistry.com/blog/natural-cold-sores-treatment 

Notes

*The herpes virus does not cause canker sores, but the term is often used interchangeably with cold sores and, therefore, is included here.