Fever blisters are often referred to as cold sores as well. These are lesions that are filled with fluid, appearing around or on the lips. Fever blisters often appear in patches, and will break open forming a crust over the sores. Causes change from herpes virus to personal habits. Some medications and remedies can be used to lessen the discomfort of these sore.
Causes of Fever Blisters
HSV-1 and virus transmission
Fever blisters area caused by HSV-1, a version of the herpes virus. Coming into contact with a person that has an active cold sore can cause you to contract this virus. Contact can come in the form of touching the cold sore while performing actions such as oral sex or kissing. Sharing items such as eating utensils, makeup or towels can also spread the virus. The blisters are most dangerous when they are open and oozing because the virus is highly concentrated in these materials. However, you can still transmit the virus when you have no blisters.
Weak immune system
Nearly 90 percent of adults around the world have been exposed to the virus that will cause cold sores. When the immune system is weak, you increase the risk of these blisters appearing. Conditions such as eczema, chemotherapy treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, severe burns or taking anti-rejection drugs for an organ transplant can weaken the immune system, causing these blisters to appear more readily.
Treatments for Fever Blisters
In most cases your doctor can determine that you are suffering from fever blisters simply by looking at the sores. If there is any uncertainty, samples can be taken from one of the blisters and be tested for the presence of the virus.
In most cases cold sores will clear up on their own within two weeks. However, if they are quite severe, patients can take prescription drugs such as famciclovir, acyclovir, penciclovir or valacyclovir to help speed the healing process. Some medications cure fever blisters internally and are taken in pill form while others are applied topically in the affected area. In general, pills are more effective in providing antiviral relieve than creams, particularly if the outbreak is severe.
Given below are some effective home remedies to reduce the discomfort causing by fever blisters. First, take a look at the dos and don’ts when dealing with fever blisters:
1. Take over-the-counter medications
Medications in the store are often effective in treating minor fever blisters. Look for an over the counter medication that contains substances like alcohol that can dry out the cold sore. Abreva is also a common medication that is used to treat the outbreak of cold sores in a shorter time frame.
2. Use lemon lip balm
Balms containing at least one percent lemon extract have been found to be effective in shortening the heal time of fever blisters.
3. Take more lysine
Lysine is an amino acid often available in cream and supplement form. You can also increase your intake of lysine by eating more poultry, vegetables, fish and beans to help you rid yourself of cold sores.
Watch a video for a review of products and medications for cold sores/ fever blisters, such as lysine:
4. Reduce stress
In many cases, fever blisters can be triggered by stress. Using relaxation techniques such as mediation or deep breathing can help you prevent them.
Using petroleum jelly to cover the cold sore will help prevent it from becoming infected with bacteria. You can also cover the blister with anesthetic ointment that contains benzocaine to help reduce your discomfort. Avoid placing makeup directly on the fever blister as this can cause additional irritation.
The bristles of your toothbrush provide an environment where the fever blister virus can live. After you have developed a cold sore, switch to a new toothbrush to prevent further infection.
When you go outdoors, apply sunscreen to the lips or use a product that is specifically intended to protect the lips from the sun to help reduce the appearance of cold sores.
Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid which helps to kill off cells infected by the fever blister virus. Chewing licorice whips that contain real licorice additives can help you reduce the heal time for your infection. You can also mix a bit of licorice powder with vegetable shortening and apply it directly to the sore.
Soaking a cotton ball in milk and apply it to your blister can help ease the pain. Making a point of applying milk to an area that feels like it is developing a cold sore, which helps prevent an outbreak as well.
Preventions for Fever Blisters
1. No skin contact with others
Make a point of avoiding contact with any tissue on other people that might be infected with the HSV-1 virus. Also avoid contact with any bodily fluids that might be infected.
2. Avoid sharing personal items
Do not use things like lip balm, towels, utensils, toothbrushes or other items that would have been in contact with the mouth or face of someone with a cold sore.
3. Keep hands clean
When you have a cold sore, try not to touch it and keep your hands clean. Avoid touching your genitals or eyes so you do not spread the virus elsewhere.
4. Avoid triggers
Some things can make you more susceptible to developing fever blisters. Take precautions when having dental work done and take medications or use tools to protect yourself from immune system changes, menstruation, fatigue, trauma, food allergies, overexposure to UV rays, stress, fever or the cold and flu.
5. Take pills to prevent blister outbreaks
People who get cold sores often can talk to their doctor about taking pills that can reduce their chances of an outbreak.