Salt On Cold Sore

Salt on cold sore is effective although most people don’t know why. Herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) causes cold sores. About 40 percent of American adults have recurring cold sore infections while 50 percent to 80 percent of them have oral herpes. Although cold sores aren't fatal, they have adverse effects on people with weak immunity such as AIDS patients.

In this article, we explain how to use salt to treat cold sores, the causes, symptoms, other remedies and prevention.

What is a Cold Sore?

Cold sores are minute lesions which appear on chins, cheeks, and lips. Also, they may occur inside nostrils. Often, these wounds cause itchiness and mild to severe pain before bursting and spreading. Lesions may cause serious complications such as decreasing vision if they reach your eyes and also meningitis when they spread to your brain.

What Causes Cold Sores?

Herpes simplex viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2 which cause cold sores are contagious. An infected person can transmit them to a healthy person after getting in close contact with them. Once it enters the body, the virus remains inactive.

If a specific trigger activates it, it results in a cold sore. Some people have a single infection while others have several outbreaks annually. Also, some may have the virus without developing an explosion. Typically, HSV-2 occurs after having oral sex with a person with genital herpes.

At times, one may develop cold sores up to three weeks after getting into contact with the herpes simplex virus. Generally, a cold sore appears close to where the virus entered in your body. Two days before the attack, one may get itchy or have sensitive skin around the affected area.

There are various other causes of cold sores such as:

  • Allergies
  • Colds
  • Fever
  • Stress
  • Particular diet
  • Menstruation
  • Sunburns

Which are the Symptoms of Cold Sores?

Most of the people with the herpes simplex virus don't show any symptoms. They discover they have it once cold sores develop. When a cold sore appears for the first time, it's ordinarily severe. Afterward, the lesions are a sign of HSV-1 and HSV-2.

They are a recurring symptom of the herpes virus. Often, a herpes infection doesn't manifest other detectable symptoms. They mostly affect young children since they lack adequate antibodies.

Some common cold sore symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Persistent headaches
  • Swollen lips
  • Blisters and lesions in your mouth
  • Mouth pain
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dehydration
  • Swollen glands
  • High fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen gums

One may also develop gingivostomatitis, an oral infection of the gums and mouth. It lasts for close to two weeks without recurring. They may also get pharyngotonsillitis, an infection in the tonsils and throat that affects adults after getting a primary infection.

How to Treat Cold Sores Using Salt

Salt is renowned for its numerous medicinal benefits. It is suitable for treating cold sores as it's an antiseptic which prevents bacterial growth. Salt draws fluid from cold sores allowing them to dry. You can use ordinary table salt or sea salt.

Physicians recommend the use of salt since the herpes simplex virus needs a damp and warm environment to thrive. Applying salt to a cold sore draws out pus hence preventing the virus from multiplying. One can use salt on cold sores up to three times a day. Some people mix it with toothpaste to create a concoction which they apply on wounds early in the morning and just before sleeping.

A typical salt on cold sore procedure is as follows:

  • Powdered salt: Purchase powdered salt either in powdered form or by crushing standard table salt.
  • Washing: It's essential to wash your hands with detergent and some warm water thoroughly.
  • Moistening: Moisten your finger in your powdered salt. Apply it to the sore and hold it for about 40 seconds.
  • Rinsing: Rinse the sore with warm water.

Which Are the Alternative Treatment Remedies for Cold Sores?

If you develop cold sores, you can use a variety of treatment remedies apart from salt. In most instances, cold sores heal within two weeks. Using antiviral medication or ointments aids in reducing the infection's duration and minimizing discomfort. Over-the-counter (OTC) antiviral creams lessen the lifespan of a recurrent cold sore outbreak. They contain penciclovir or acyclovir. It's wise to apply them once you notice the symptoms.

Also, you can take an oral antiviral medication such as acyclovir and famciclovir. They significantly reduce the outbreak's duration if you take it once the initial symptoms manifest. Some OTC creams lack antiviral remedies including Blistex, bonjela, and cymex. They help in reducing discomfort. However, they don't shorten the healing process.

When applying the creams on your sores, avoid rubbing them. Also, you need to wash your hands after using them. It's advisable not to share your cream with someone who has cold sores. If the pain increases, you may use Tylenol or ibuprofen. You can also get liquid drugs for your young children.

How to Prevent Cold Sores

Follow these tips to prevent transmitting cold sores to other people:

  • Avoid having close contact with your friends and family
  • Avoid sharing cutlery, lipstick, and towels
  • Maintain proper hand hygiene
  • Don't touch other parts of your body especially sensitive areas including your eyes and genitals.
  • Buy a new toothbrush after a few months
  • Replace your lip balm
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soapy water after touching the cold sore.

When to Call a Doctor

Often, when one develops a cold sore for the first time, they have severe symptoms. Some people experience fever, bleeding gums, and swollen glands. However, these symptoms usually dissipate within a few days. Also, sores heal within six weeks without causing any scarring. You don't need to seek medical care when you develop a cold sore.

Some doctors prescribe daily medications to people with regular cold sores since it’s tricky to predict how long they should be under medication. Also, patients with weakened immune systems due to chemotherapy may develop severe cold sores. Consult your doctor when you develop a high fever and painful wounds.

Cold sores are common globally. Usually, they aren't life-threatening. However, if your cold sores persist for several months, you need to seek medical attention. Alternatively, you can use other treatment options including applying salt on cold sores.