Ice as a Cold Sore Cure

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Ice as a Cold Sore Cure
Ice as a Cold Sore Cure (Image: Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Ben Tillman))

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are painful, annoying and unsightly. They often grow from a small bump to a full-blown sore before they finally heal. There are medications to relieve the pain and hasten their healing, but some people prefer to use natural treatment methods. Ice is a popular method that doesn't cost anything and is easy to apply. It can be used alone or be combined with other cold sore cures.

Definition

Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that typically appear on the lips, although they can happen in the mouth, too. The Mayo Clinic says they are caused by the herpes simplex virus. For most of the time, it remains dormant in the skin's nerve cells. However, it will occasionally emerge to cause an active infection.

Severity

Ice may be able to lessen the severity of a cold sore attack if you catch it early. Health 911 recommends using it as soon as you feel a sore getting ready to break out. You should be able to tell this by pain or an itchy or tingly feeling on your lip. Your glands may also swell. You should apply an ice cube for 10 minutes every hour to the area where you feel the pain or other sensations, repeating the process for an entire day. The ice may help keep the virus from moving from the nerve to the skin. Some people use frozen tea bags rather than plain ice in the belief that tea has antiviral properties that can boost the preventative effect of the ice.

Pain

Ice is known as a home remedy for cold sore pain. Apply an ice cube directly to the affected area by rubbing the cube on it for several minutes. It will work by numbing your lip so you do not feel the pain or unpleasant sensations associated with cold sores. If you prefer not to use ice, the Mayo Clinic says you can substitute a cold compress.

Compatibility

Ice is a natural cold sore treatment that is compatible with medical treatments. In addition to applying an ice cube, you can use anti-viral medications to lessen the sore's severity and duration. They are available over the counter or by prescription. You can also use a numbing medication like benzocaine or lidocaine to treat the pain along with your ice applications.

Warning

Although ice can be helpful in reducing a cold sore's severity and pain, there is no true cure for cold sores. They are caused by a virus, and once it has gotten into your body, there is no way to get rid of it. You will continue to get cold sores, but you can use ice whenever you feel one starting, to try to force the virus back into dormancy more quickly.

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