Cold sores affect men and women in all age categories. Should you keep cold sores moist or dry? Drying out cold sores is likely to expedite the healing process in the same way it does with acne. In this article, we will explain the pros and cons of keeping cold sores dry or moist. This is an easy-to-use FDA-approved treatment that has the potential to get rid of cold sores in only three days.
We recommend finding out more about how it can help you to recover faster. You may scratch the blisters or break open the crust, which is often what spreads the infection.
The other side of the argument is that, if you keep cold sores dry, they are likely to heal more quickly. Devoid of moisture, they will dry out a lot faster. There is no guarantee, but this approach does work. You will need to avoid scratching the area during itching, tingling and burning sensations.
If you were to disturb the scab, you could cause new cold sores to form. If that were to happen, it would prolong the healing time, and new the outbreaks could be worse. Cold sores usually begin as a tingling sensation around the lips. For several hours, you will experience a strange feeling, and tiny spots will start to appear later. These will turn into blisters. The blisters will be filled with an infectious fluid. It could be a tiny cold sore if the outbreak is minimal, but some people find that half of the lip becomes blistered.
While cold sores are most common in and around the mouth, they can also appear on the cheeksnoseand chin. Over the next few days, the blisters will burst open, ooze fluid, and a crust will develop.Herpes simplex labialis can be controlled with proper treatment and use of OTC products. The pharmacist can play a key role in identifying patients who should seek further medical treatment from their physicians. Herpes simplex labialis HSLalso known as cold sores or fever blisters, is a common disease typically caused by infections of the mouth area with the herpes simplex virus 1 HSV Another form of the virus, herpes simplex virus 2 HSV-2is primarily responsible for causing genital herpes.
Triggers Numerous factors may increase the frequency of HSL outbreaks, including :. Signs and Symptoms Typically, an outbreak of HSL goes through various stages, with each having distinct characteristics. In the initial stage of an outbreak, cold sores are preceded by a prodrome. Cold sores usually appear first as small erythematous vesicles, which range in diameter from 1 mm to 3 mm, and can combine to form a larger lesion.
If pus appears under the crusted area, a secondary infection may be present. Pharmacists can provide key information on the most effective treatments for managing HSL, and preventive measures that can help decrease the risk of future outbreaks.
The primary goals in treating HSL are to relieve pain and discomfort, prevent transmission to others, and prevent further complications or infections. Docosanol works by inhibiting direct fusion between the herpes virus and the human cell plasma membrane, thus averting viral replication.
It should be applied 5 times a day, beginning at the first sign of outbreak, until the sore is gone. Pharmacists can also remind patients that in addition to using topical nonprescription products, the following measures can be implemented to better manage and prevent the transmission of HSL outbreaks 1,2,6 :. The Role of the Pharmacist When counseling patients about the proper use of these products, it is imperative to emphasize the contagious nature of HSL lesions and discuss ways to prevent or reduce transmission to others.
Moreover, pharmacists play a key role in identifying patients with HSL lesions that may require further medical treatment from their primary health care provider. Continuing Education. Please enter valid email address.
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Should I Keep Cold Sores Moist or Dry for Faster Healing?
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Cold Sores: Keep Moist, or Let Dry Out (aka 'A Tale of Two Grandmothers')
Health-System Edition. OTC Guide.It seems like once a year or so I get around to doing a blog post on cold sores, so here's one for Specifically, today I want to talk about treating a cold sore, and whether it is better to let it dry out, or to keep it moist. This topic came up the other day when I was talking to a patient about cold sores. He told me about his two grandmothers and their conflicting views on treating everything, cold sores included.
They conflicted on lots of stuff, it appears. I wrote almost this exact thing a year ago that two grandmothers might provide two different remediesso I really thought his story was interesting, and I asked for permission to retell it here. He said it was fine.
Obviously, I won't use any names. Like most people, I had two grandmothers growing up. The grandmother on my mom's side Italian was called "Nana," and my grandmother on my father's side, "Oma. Nana and Oma really didn't like each other very much. OK, they co-existed on our holiday gatherings, but there was definite competition. Like who got the center of the table for their main holiday dish Nana always had sauce, meatballs and garlic bread that would bring tears to your eyes, and Oma would make a bratwurst with all the trimmings that would have ended World War II.
Is It Better To Keep Cold Sores Moist Or Let Them Stay Dry So They Can Heal Quicker ?
Really, these two should have teamed up, but they didn't. It was somewhat comical when Nana would subtly, over a few minutes, nudge the brats off the table center and replace it with her sauce. And the inevitable counterattack by the potato pancakes. Really, it was like two generals moving pieces on the chessboard. Not surprisingly, each had a bevy of "home remedies" for any and all afflictions. And sometimes they were odd: Oma said use an onion for a toothache, Nana said to use oregano.
Were they trying to help me, or make a salad? But one Christmas I had a cold sore, and at the family gathering, unsurprisingly, both grandmothers were on opposite sides regarding an effective remedy. Nana told me to keep it moist.
Her reasoning was that it was a virus, and to keep it moist would starve it of oxygen. It almost didn't matter to her what I used to keep it moist -- Vaseline, butter, olive oil What is it with the food remedies?
Before I could get to the bathroom and get the Vaseline because I didn't want to smell like olive oilOma ambushed me and asked what I was doing.In the beginning, long before Johnson met Johnson and Band-Aids were invented, primitive men and women suffered minor cuts and abrasions and probably left them uncovered to heal.
After all, the bleeding had stopped, a scab eventually formed and experience had taught them that their skin would heal in a week or two. So there was no great rush to find a use for those puffy, cottony, soft, white plants growing in the fields just yet.
In those early days of discovery, the scab and the blister were considered nature's miracle wound coverings.
The scab became our partial and temporary exoskeleton and the blister was the human equivalent of bubble wrap, both protecting the wounds and encouraging the healing process. A scab is the body's natural wound covering. As long as the site is kept moist, the scab will not inhibit the healing process.
At that time, keeping scabs and blisters intact seemed like the keys to wound healing. But as time marched on and people suffered larger wounds such as those that might be acquired while trying to take down a wild boar without decent weaponrya need arose to stop excessive bleeding and further injury with some kind of wound covering.
Trial and error most likely proved that palm leaves worked and poison ivy did not. It wasn't until around BC that ancient Egyptians and Greeks started using lint, animal grease and honey as topical wound treatments. They had discovered that the lint provided a fibrous base that promoted wound site closure, the animal grease provided a barrier to environmental pathogens, and the honey served as an antibiotic agent.
What they may not have realized at the time was that their treatment method accelerated the wound healing process by promoting a moist wound bed.
Clearing The Air About Moist Vs. Dry Wound Healing
There are two main components to moist wound healing: 1 Do not use disinfectants over the wound and 2 Keep the wound moist. The first component, not using disinfectants, makes sense because disinfectants such as iodine, sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide are toxic to cells and should never be applied over a wound surface. We don't want to kill cells; we want to encourage them to live and proliferate.
The second component refers to the fact that lacerations, abrasions, crush injuries and burns heal faster and with less scarring when treatment involves promoting a moist wound bed. The proof that moist wounds heal faster than dry wounds came back inthanks to Dr.
George D. His research showed that, contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time that wounds should be allowed to dry out and form scabs to promote healing, wounds instead heal faster if kept moist. Winter's work began the evolution of modern wound dressings that promote moist wound healing.If you're prone to cold sores, you know that a tingling feeling in your lip usually only means one thing: a new blisters is set to erupt.
Cold sores are usually caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV-1a strain closely related to the type 2 bug responsible for genital blisters. These are just two of the eight types of virus in the herpes family that affect humans—another well known one causes chickenpox herpes zoster.
It used to be that HSV-2 was the virus mostly seen in genital herpes. It can also transmit HSV-2 to the mouth. There's no question that cold sores are seriously uncomfortable.
On their own, they usually clear up in two to four weeks. Fortunately, there are some cold sore treatments that can speed up the healing process, especially if you catch the cold sore early. But before you need those, take a look at how you might prevent these troublesome outbreaks—also known as fever blisters—altogether.
Once you pick up the cold sore virus—lots of people pick up HSV-1 in their first six months to three years of life—it sits dormant in your nerve cells. So the best way to avoid an outbreak is to reduce your exposure to certain triggers. Classic triggers: Exposure to sunlight, stress, physical stress, being sick with a common cold or fever, getting a minor injury or having cracks in the lips, and using steroids.
One thing about cold sores is that they often give you a heads up via symptoms like tingling, itching, inflammation, or soreness where the fever blister is about to appear.
If you catch it in the early stages and call a doctor to get an antiviral medication, you may prevent a cold sore from breaking out or at least keep it from sticking around so long. The best way to treat cold sores is to start treatment early—in that prodromal stage—with a prescription oral antiviral medication like valacyclovir which you probably know as Valtrexsays Lorraine Young, M.
A common regimen is to take 2, milligrams in the morning and again later on in the day. It may even prevent the cold sore from erupting in the first place.
Preventing the virus from replicating prevents it from going through its normal course. The result? It can reduce the time it takes your blisters to heal—or even prevent them from appearing in the first place. It sits there and dissolves slowly throughout the day, offering your body a steady stream of the med to tame the virus.
A topical steroid cream like cortisone can help reduce the inflammation associated with the sores, which can make the pain, redness, and irritation feel a little bit better.Scabs form as a normal part of the healing process when skin is injured. In this article, we answer the question "do scabs heal faster dry or moist? We also examine how to keep a wound moist at home using readily available products.HOW TO : Cure a cold sore FAST - Healed & Scab Free
However, in our bid to encourage this, we may end up affecting the process which will result in prolonged healing process. A case in point is wound healing. Sometimes, the things we do may irritate the skin, cause the scabs to worsen, and eventually result in scarring.
It is therefore important to know how to handle wounds to promote skin repair through cell regeneration. With that being the case, do scabs heal faster dry or moist? To understand this, we need to understand the wound healing process and formation of scabs. To understand the process of scab formation and if scabs heal faster when wet or dry, we must understand the wound and scab healing process. When the skin is injured, it goes through three stages: the inflammatory, proliferation and maturation phases.
To begin with, most wounds start by bleeding. Some, though, like pressure sores and burns do not. Once bleeding starts, platelets stick together to form a clot. This is a protective covering that stops bleeding and leaking of any other body fluids.
To hold it together, the clot is bound by fibrin. When the clot starts to dry and harden, a scab forms. It purpose is to keep germs away and give the skin beneath it time to heal.
After the scab forms, the area becomes tender and swells. The white blood cells work hard to repair the skin and wade off any infections. The healing process then enters the tissue regrowth phase after about five days. The damaged tissues are replaced with healthy ones, the skin pulls the edges of the wound inwards, and the wound as well as the scab diminish progressively.
In case the damage was severe, a scar will then form. According to woundsource. While most people believe that wounds should be allowed to dry out to promote healing, research shows that moist wounds heal faster. Promoting a moist wound also minimizes the likelihood of formation of a scar.Cold sores can be embarrassing at any stage.
They can start out looking like a small red mark, and turn into an oozing, unsightly blister. For most people, however, the scabbing stage of a blister is the worst. Not only does it make the area crust over and look dried outbut it can be the most painful. So, are there any practical ways to get rid of a cold sore scab? Every stage of a blister has a purpose to its short lifespan. So, having that protective layer on top can make sure it heals properly. It can draw immediate attention to the sore, and cause embarrassment.
All of these factors can make the blister worse, and create a longer healing time. Thankfully, there are several ways to help soften and minimize the appearance of a scab. This article will explain how to soften a cold sore scab.
Again, you should never pick at a scab to get it off. This can create bleeding and more significant problems. However, when a scab can drop off on its own, you can still get the healing benefits, without the unsightly, crusty mass on your skin. Avoid touching the scab. Unfortunately, that can cause the scab to fall off prematurely.
If you scratch anywhere around the scab, it can also spread the infection by getting it on your hands. Keep the affected area as clean as possible. It should be washed separately, preferably with antibacterial soap.
Wash your hands throughout the day. We often touch our faces without even realizing it. If you touch anywhere near the area, you could be allowing it to spread from your hands, to other areas of your body, or to other people. The crusting stage of a blister can make it dry, and cause it to crack easily. As stated above, if a scab gets picked off or cracks open, it can cause bigger problems. Not only can it start to bleed, but also it can be painful.
If it does break open, it can increase the time it takes for the blister to heal as well, since it will need to go through that particular stage again. One of the best ways to do this safely is with petroleum jelly, like Vaseline.
Many over-the-counter topical treatments also contain moisturizing ingredients. Because cold sores are so common, many topical treatment solutions have been developed.
You can apply most of them at any stage of a blister, but they can help to soften a scab and ease the pain that comes with it. However, when you use Abreva or any other topical solution during the scabbing stage, it is mostly to provide pain relief and speed up the healing process at that stage.
Another great product that will keep infection away from your scab and keep it from cracking is Zilactin.
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