Do you wonder how to stop cold sore fast? Are you prone to cold sores? If so, you’re right alongside about 90% of the US population. In this blog, our dentist in Lincoln, NE explains how to stop a cold sore in its tracks, how to hide them and make them go away, and the virus that causes them.
90% of the population may seem high to many people. After all, a person would be hard-pressed to find that many people on the street with cold sores. However, that number represents the approximate percentage of people who have been exposed to the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). HSV-1 is the virus which causes cold sores, and it’s closely related to HSV-2, also known as genital herpes.
So if 90% of the population has the virus, why don’t 90% of people have cold sores at any given time? The reason has a lot to do with what causes cold sores, and the mistake that most make when thinking about them.
What causes cold sores on lips?
When we talk about how to stop a cold sore, there are a few things we should talk about before moving on. First, we should note that cold sores are always caused by HSV-1. This is because HSV-1 remains dormant inside the body until a cold sore is triggered. Certain things can trigger a cold sore. But at the end of the day, they’re all caused by HSV-1.
So how can 90% of people have HSV-1 if we only see a few cold sores out on the street? This is where triggers come into play. Because certain things predispose people to cold sores, people must be exposed to these things. So what are the things that can trigger a cold sore? There are a handful of underlying conditions, as listed below, that can trigger cold sores.
Exposure to Sunlight
Believe it or not, overexposure to sunlight can often trigger a cold sore breakout. The sun’s UV rays are hard on skin. This often leads to the development of cold sores.
Fevers are a part of the body’s reaction to sickness. When the immune system encounters certain foreign bodies, it heats up the body in an attempt to weaken and expel the foreign agent. When fevers arise, they often leave behind cold sores. For that reason, cold sores are often called “fever blisters.”
When a person’s hormones become imbalanced, it often brings about cold sores. The reason being is similar to both triggers listed above: Hormonal changes can be hard on the body’s immune system. This allows cold sores to slip through the cracks and form, in spite of the body’s hard work against it.
Similarly, viral infections put the body’s immune system to the test. Both colds and influenza have been known to come along with cold sores for those with HSV-1.
Vitamin deficiencies are another common complaint of those with cold sores. Specifically, the immune system is at its best with healthy doses of Vitamin D and C. When the body doesn’t have enough Vitamin D or C, the immune system’s response can have a tough time keeping up with preventing cold sores.
How To Stop A Cold Sore Fast, From Your Lincoln, NE dentist
Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry way to stop a cold sore fast. But there are ways to prevent and conceal them that can work excellently. Below is how to stop a cold sore fast from your local family dentist, the Lincoln dentist’s perspective.
Use Abreva – Using Abreva can significantly reduce the time it takes for a cold sore to heal. The antiviral agent called “Docosanol” is manufactured for this very purpose. In a clinical study, Abreva was shown to reduce cold sore length by up to two days.
Avoid Hot, Acidic, or Salty Foods and Drinks – Hot, acidic, or salty foods and drinks can irritate a cold sore, often causing it to last longer. To figure out how to stop a cold sore fast, you’ll definitely want to avoid these.
Don’t Touch – Touching a cold sore is another simple way to keep it alive and worsen the infection. Keep your hands off to help it heal!
Use Hydrogen Peroxide – Using hydrogen peroxide on a cold sore can dry it out and stop it from spreading or growing!
Apply Ice – Especially good for those with swelling, using a cold compress or ice will bring down the growth of a cold sore.
See A Lincoln, NE Emergency Dentist – You can see a Lincoln, NE emergency dentist if the over-the-counter medication does not work to stop your cold sore or if you have multiple cold sores affecting your ability to eat, drink or speak.
You can schedule 24/7 using our online scheduling tool.
Nebraska Family Dentistry Locations
Did you know that Nebraska Family Dentistry locations are scattered all across Lincoln? You can find excellent dental care all over the city of Lincoln! The following are Nebraska Family Dentistry locations:
Lincoln Family Dentistry (Central Lincoln dentist) : 402-467-1000; 5500 O St.
Preserve Family Dentistry (East Lincoln dentist): 402-413-7000; 4303 S. 84th St.
Coddington Dental (West Lincoln dentist ): 402-438-5555; 1320 West A St.
Northstar Dental (North Lincoln dentist): 402-742-0000; 5800 N. 33rd St
Southpointe Dental (South Lincoln dentist): 402-423-3333; 7940 S. 13th St.
Prevent A Cold Sore
Realistically, a huge component of avoiding cold sores comes in the form of prevention. Preventing a cold sore is truly the best strategy when it comes to how to stop a cold sore fast. To prevent cold sores, there are a handful of different strategies. However, they almost all revolve around taking care of your body and avoiding cold sore triggers. Below, we’ve listed how to prevent a cold sore next time.
The best way to prevent cold sores is to avoid the triggers which make them appear. These include the things listed below
What causes cold sores on lips?
In general, doing anything to bolster your immune system can help you prevent cold sores. This includes supplementing any necessary vitamins, getting plenty of sleep, utilizing healthy stress reduction practices, and washing your hands often.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Strengthening your immune system will also help prevent cold sores. You can find more information about the immune system here, or check out some quick tips below:
Getting plenty of sleep also benefits the immune system. Sleep is well-considered a health must. The body does most of its healing at night, so the immune system needs the sleep to repair the body.
Practicing good eating habits can seriously improve a person’s immune system. Eating iron-rich foods like fish or poultry, as well as probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut will have a positive impact on the immune system. Avoiding things like soda, sugary foods and drinks will help benefit your gut and immunity. You can also try taking supplements of probiotics and other vitamins to bolster immunity.
While some may not realize it, we do as a Lincoln dentist: the state of a person’s oral health has a lot to do with the health of their immune system. If a person doesn’t take care of his or her oral health, it’s common to develop a low-grade (or sometimes high-grade!) infection, which puts a general strain on the immune system.
When cold sore does happen, what is the best way to conceal the cold sore?
Once your cold sore has begun healing, you can use a highly concentrated heavy concealer to lessen its appearance. Follow these steps to conceal cold sore:
- Use a concealer with a creamy, not liquid, texture.
- Only use a small amount of heavy concealer.
- Try using two different shades of concealer: A yellow-based concealer to neutralize redness, and a concealer that matches your skin tone. Start by dabbing the yellow concealer with a disposable makeup sponge. Then add a little bit of the skin-colored concealer.
- After applying concealer, top it with a very light dusting of finishing powder.
Frequently Asked Questions On How To Stop A Cold Sore
What are some foods to avoid with cold sores?
When you have a cold sore, be sure to avoid anything spicy, salty, or overly acidic. These kinds of foods can all irritate the cold sore and cause it to heal more slowly.
When are cold sores no longer contagious?
A cold sore is most contagious if or when it ruptures. If a cold sore bursts, it becomes much more likely for it to spread. Unfortunately, cold sores remain contagious until they completely heal. If you can still see the cold sore, it’s still contagious.
What’s the quickest way to get rid of a cold sore?
While there’s no simple way to get rid of a cold sore fast, the steps below How To Stop A Cold Sore Fast, From The Experts is a great set of steps to speed up the healing process. By using Abreva, avoiding certain foods, keeping your hands off,
How common are cold sores?
Cold sores are relatively common. HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores, is estimated to be carried by about 90% of the US population. This means 90% of the population have or will have at least one cold sore in their lifetime.
What are some good vitamin supplements for cold sores?
As we mentioned above, Vitamin C and D deficiencies are often associated with cold sores. For that reason, Vitamin C and D are great supplements to avoid and reduce the lifespan of cold sores. Other good supplements for managing cold sores are Lysine, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Zinc. Similarly, many will recommend eating foods rich in arginine, including oats, wheat, chocolate, nuts, and even pumpkin seeds. Good sources of Lysine include pistachios, black beans, lentils, tempeh, quinoa, and soy milk. You can find Vitamin B6 in fish, beef liver, potatoes, and avocados.
Is a cold sore on the roof of the mouth normal?
Yes! While it isn’t the most common place for a cold sore to form, it does happen from time to time. Don’t be alarmed if you develop a cold sore on your mouth.
How are cold sores spread?
HSV-1 spreads through skin contact. This means that when the affected skin touches any other part of a person’s body, it can spread. Common ways it spreads are through kissing, sharing drinks, food, etc., or from close contact.
What’s the difference between a cold sore and a canker sore?
It’s not uncommon for people to confuse canker sores and cold sores. However, they’re two entirely different conditions. Canker sores are small open sores which occur on the insides of the mouth and on the gums. This is unlike cold sores, which are typically outside of the mouth. Canker sores also look quite different from cold sores, appearing yellow or gray in the center. Cold sores, however, are typically completely red and appear filled with fluid. Another major difference is that canker sores are not contagious, unlike cold sores.
Is a cold sore the same thing as herpes?
As we mentioned above, cold sores typically come from Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). Genital herpes is usually from a related classification, HSV-2. Still, it is possible to spread HSV-1 through oral sex. For that reason, it’s important to avoid oral sex during a cold sore breakout.
Can I still have dental treatment if I have a cold sore?
It is recommended to avoid any dental treatment if a patient has an active cold sore. This is because an active cold sore carries HSV-1, and coming in for these appointments puts your dental professionals at risk. If you do have an active cold sore, be sure to reschedule your appointment.
Can laser removal work to stop a cold sore?
Yes, it can. The right laser can stop the spreading of the cold sore. It will not get rid of it but will shorten the duration and healing time of the cold sore.
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