Oral infections have become quite common, especially among young adults. One among them is fever blisters, also known as cold sores. Fever blisters typically occur through a viral infection, most often a herpes simplex virus. This infection is highly contagious and can spread through close contact.
The name fever blister comes from the clinical appearance of the lesion. It forms clusters of blisters around the corner of the mouth or lips and breaks to form a crust which heals over two to four weeks.
Although there are several professional treatments for fever blisters, some home remedies have effectively improved the healing of fever blisters. Moreover, they are convenient and inexpensive compared to the medications prescribed by doctors.
Today’s article will highlight the causes and natural remedies of fever blisters.
What is a fever blister?
A fever blister is a painful lesion formed due to a viral infection from the herpes simplex virus. Usually, the virus stays dormant in the nerves and causes no reaction. However, when triggered, it may become active due to stress, overexposure to sunlight, or even hormonal changes.
Fever blisters are highly contagious and can spread through close contacts, such as while kissing. They appear as clusters of blisters that form a patch around the lower lip or corner of the mouth. As the blisters burst, it creates a crust that is painful to touch, followed by a healing period of two to four weeks.
How long does the healing of fever blister take?
A fever blister, also known as a cold sore, usually heals within two to four weeks. Typically, a fever blister can heal without treatment, but there are many effective ways to relieve the pain and promote healing. some of the precautions that you can take to ensure rapid healing may include –
- avoid touching the blister
- avoid reusing a lip balm or any product that may have come in contact with the blister
- avoid frequent kissing or sharing utensils and toothbrushes especially if you have an open sore
- strictly avoid oral sexual activity (2)
- avoid alcohol, acidic foods, and smoking
Usually, the first outbreak of fever blister is more severe. During this time, the eruptions can be accompanied by fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and body aches. Fever blisters also have the potential to recur. However, the future recurrences are less severe as compared to the first breakout.
Natural home remedies for fever blisters
While there are professional treatments and prescription medicines that may help to heal fever blister, some natural home remedies have proven to be equally efficient and cost-effective. Some of the natural resources that can treat fever blisters are as follows –
- Ice pack
Ice packs are very well known to treat skin or oral inflammations. The cold pack of ice works by reducing blood flow to a particular area. Moreover, it numbs the affected skin area and relieves the pain. However, the use of an ice pack is a temporary treatment. Additionally, it does not help in removing the virus or promote healing.
To treat a fever blister, wrap an ice pack with a clean towel or cloth and place it on the affected area for a minimum of five minutes. Make sure you do not apply the ice pack for more than 15 minutes.
- Witch hazel
Witch hazel is an astringent and anti-inflammatory extract which dries out the area and helps heal the fever blister. It is effortless to use. You can apply witch hazel directly to the skin using a moistened cotton pad.
Try to hold it onto the affected skin by using light pressure. Continue this treatment until your skin is fully healed. Make sure not to rub the area with witch hazel, instead hold it in place using light pressure.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very well known for its anti-infective and antifungal properties. However, it should always be used with caution, especially on open wounds. This is because of its acidic nature and the potential to damage the surrounding tissue.
Usually, apple cider vinegar is used by dabbing a cotton ball with a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar. Apply the cotton to the affected area several times per day and hold it for a few minutes each time. Continue this treatment until the lesion is completely healed.
- Essential oils
Lemon balm a.k.a Melissa officinalis
Melissa officinalis can kill the herpes simplex virus by affecting the mechanism of virus attachment to host cells. Melissa officianalis is usually available in the form of a lip balm or essential oil.
The best way to use this is by applying a lip balm containing lemon balm to the affected area several times per day. You may also dilute Melissa Officinali’s essential oil on a cotton ball and hold it on the fever blister for a few minutes. Continue using a lemon balm or the essential oil for a few days until the sores have healed.
- Oregano oil
oregano oil is used to inhibit the growth of several animal and human viruses, including herpes. Apply diluted oregano essential oil to a cotton pad and apply it to the affected area. Repeat this technique several times throughout the day, and continue treatment until the fever blisters heal completely.
- Licorice extract
Licorice root is a popular natural home treatment for fever blisters. Licorice extract has an antiherpetic activity that aids in the healing of the lesion. Apply diluted licorice extract on the fever blister with a cotton swab or fingertips.
Licorice tablets can also be used by crushing and mixing it in a paste of coconut or almond oil. Apply to the affected area. Repeat the process until the lesion is completely healed. Although the tablets can be taken orally, it is advised to consult a doctor before taking medicines.
- Tea tree oil
tea tree oil is a useful antiviral treatment for fever blisters. It may also help to increase the healing process and limit plaque formation. It is used topically like any other essential oil by adding a few drops of diluted tea tree oil to a cotton pad. Dab it on the affected spot several times per day, and continue treatment until the skin is completely healed.
- Natural creams
L-lysine is an amino acid that has the potential to shorten the duration of a fever blister. It can inhibit the amino acid that promotes the growth of the fever blisters. However, there is no clear evidence to confirm its effectiveness.
Zinc is a natural and essential mineral that helps in wound healing. Usually, topical zinc may help with fever blisters as well. Zinc therapy is used in the form of a cream containing zinc oxide and glycine, which allows shortening the duration of fever blisters. zinc oxide also plays a crucial role in preventing the herpes simplex virus from entering the host cells.
It is best to consult a certified doctor before taking zinc therapy. However, ideal recommendations include 22.5 mg of zinc supplements twice a day for two months. If you use a cream-based treatment, apply the zinc oxide cream four times a day until the skin heals entirely.
Take away message
Fever blisters are viral lesions which are primarily caused by herpes simplex virus. These lesions form as clusters of blisters that may burst to form painful crusts, which take a long time to heal. Typically, two to four weeks. However, fever blisters have a high chance of recurrence.
Usually, the herpes simplex virus is present as a dormant agent in the nerves of the host. Some trigger factors like stress, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, immune disorder, or systemic illness can lead to activation of the virus, causing fever blisters.
Despite some professional treatments and antiviral drugs, natural remedies like tea tree oil, oregano oil, lemon lip balm, zinc therapy, and L-lysin therapy have shown to improve the fever blisters conveniently and inexpensively.
If you are experiencing fever blisters episodes, consult your doctor immediately to start the best natural therapy for curing the skin lesions.