Lip sores can be a nasty sight. They’re also known as cold sores or fever blisters, the latter because it’s sometimes accompanied by a mild fever. Lip sores are painful blisters occurring on the lips, and around the mouth or face. The most common one is caused by the Herpes simplex virus type 1. But don’t worry, this condition isn’t life threatening, just highly contagious. Usually, it takes two weeks for the blisters to dry up and disappear. There is currently still no cure for the virus itself. Until then you need to take some measures to help speed up the healing process. Take a page from these tried and tested remedies.
- Contain the infection and prevent it from spreading. The moment you determine that what you have is really a cold sore, take preventive measures. Separate your personal utensils and hygiene items—plate, spoon and fork, mug or cup, toothbrush, soap, etc. Wash them yourself and do not let anyone else use them. Make it a habit to always wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap. Keep your hands to yourself. Resist the urge to touch your sores with your bare hands and then touch other things or body parts. For the next two weeks or until your sores haven’t completely healed yet, do not engage in tactile activities like kissing, hugging, or touching. This is serious. You wouldn’t want to risk passing along the infection to a family member or loved one.
- Apply topical ointments to ease irritation. Aloe vera-infused gels or ointments are usually the best topical medication for irritated skin. That’s because aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in soothing, healing, and moisturizing skin with minor wounds and skin infections. Cold creams and ointments like Abreva and Denavir are also helpful.
- Take antiviral medication. For extreme cases of lip sores, you can go to your doctor and ask for a prescription of antiviral medicine like Acyclovir, Famciclovir, or Penciclovir. These will not immediately heal your sores in a snap of a finger, but will help hustle up healing time especially when you take the medication during the early stages of the infection. Your doctor may also prescribe medication if you’re particularly prone to outbreaks.
- Apply ice to ease pain. Lip sores can be too painful and hard to bear sometimes. If this is the case, you can apply an ice pack on the areas around the infected area for immediate relief. Hold and move the ice around for not more than 10 minutes at a time for an hour. Ice may also prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your face. Remember to use an ice pack and not apply the ice cube directly on the sores.
- Take over-the-counter painkillers. Aspirin and Ibuprofen can also help ease the pain. Use as sparingly as possible.
Lip sores are nothing to be afraid of. Yes, they can look ugly and make you feel bad, but if you follow the necessary measures to prevent the spread and worsening of infection, you’ll say goodbye to lip sores in no time.