RadarOpus blog - Cold Sores | Causes, Symptoms & Homoeopathic RemediesFeb 2, 2022
What are cold sores?
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a common viral infection that causes small, fluid-filled blisters on the lips and around the mouth. However, they can also appear in clusters on the fingers and nose. After the blister breaks, the cold sores result in scabs that can last days or weeks.
They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with contaminated saliva, skin or objects.
While cold sores usually clear up on their own within a few weeks, they can sometimes cause discomfort and pain. Treatment options include homoeopathic remedies, topical medications and oral antiviral drugs.
What causes cold sores?
Cold sores are caused by strains of the herpes simplex virus; most commonly it is the herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1). Type one is most often responsible for the cold sores one experiences in the mouth and on the lips. Whereas the herpes simplex type 2 virus (HSV-2) results in genital herpes.
In some cases, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, and HSV-2 can cause mouth cold sores.
What triggers cold sores?
Once you’ve been exposed to and infected with herpes simplex, it can take some time for the virus to break. But once you’ve had an outbreak, the virus can remain dormant in the nerve cells in your skin.
The virus may be triggered by the following events:
- Allergies and hay fever
- Viral infection
- Menstruation or hormonal changes
- Exposure to wind
- Weakened immune system
- Dental work
- Certain foods
How long do cold sores last?
Without treatment, cold sores can last up to four weeks. Generally, a scab will start to break out several days after the initial blistering phase.
Are cold sores contagious?
Cold sores are most contagious when they are in the oozing phase, as it allows the virus to spread via bodily fluids. Both strains of herpes can be passed through kissing, oral sex, and intercourse. The virus is also passed by sharing utensils, towels, cosmetics, or drinks.
Even when cold sores aren’t in their oozing phase, they can still be contagious; it can spread even when they aren’t seen. In fact, many people can go their whole lives without realising they have the herpes simplex virus.
Once you get the herpes simplex virus, it can’t be cured. However, it is a manageable virus to live with and there are numerous ways to treat cold sores.
How to prevent cold sores
Cold sores are a common skin condition that can be painful and unsightly. There is no cure for cold sores, only treatments that relieve the symptoms of the infection. The best way to prevent cold sores from forming is by avoiding the things that cause them in the first place: kissing someone who has an active sore, touching any part of their body during an outbreak, sharing utensils with someone who has a sore on their mouth, and using personal items such as towels without washing your hands after contact with infected areas.
If you tend to get cold sores after sun exposure, be sure to apply zinc oxide lip balm. If stress is the usual culprit for cold sore outbreaks, practise mindful techniques to prevent stress.
Homoeopathic remedies for cold sores
Homoeopathic remedies offer a natural alternative that is safe and effective. There are several different homoeopathic remedies that can be used to treat cold sores, and each one works in a slightly different way. Choosing the right remedy for your individual needs is important for achieving the best results.
Note: If you would like to use RadarOpus and practise homoeopathy, take a look at our beginner's course.
Disclaimer - Homeopathy does not work by treating named conditions; that is the domain of Allopathic Medicine. Homeopathy employs natural remedies in potentised doses to encourage your own innate healing response - supporting your overall wellbeing. For the best results in helping your condition, we advise you to visit a professional Homeopath rather than rely on anything mentioned in this article. By consulting with a Homeopath, your individual treatment plan will help you gain a better understanding of yourself and what triggers your emotional or physical disease. When you develop an illness, the way you experience your symptoms is unique to you – therefore your Homeopathic prescription will be based on your subjective symptoms and individual reactions rather than your diagnosis. That being said, there are remedies which do have an elective affinity to certain organ systems, physiological and pathological processes. These are outlined below for cold sores.
This is a good choice for large, swollen and tender cold sores. There are often also vesicles around the lips. It is also a useful remedy for mouth ulcers which seem to recur. The lower lip may be cracked, sore, and the mouth dry. Nat-mur types are generally aggravated by hot sun or extremes of temperature. They are usually refined, sensitive individuals who are vulnerable to emotional injury and for that reason tend to compensate by building a defensive wall around themselves. They are naturally good listeners and would much rather hear someone else’s problems than divulge of their own. If the cold sores have manifested after a disappointment in love or from unexpressed grief then that would indicate Natrum mur even further.
Rhus tox is a suitable remedy when the cold sores are red and swollen, with blistered skin around the corners of the mouth and chin. The characterisitic pains are shooting / fiery and there can also be a puffy appearance to facial features. Those responding to Rhus tox feel much worse in cold/damp weather. At the mental, emotional and physical level, these are restless folk, who will have an irresistible desire to keep moving as the pains become unbearable when at rest.
Capsicum is a remedy prepared from the chilli pepper. As such, this remedy can be helpful where there is rather extreme blistering around the lips and inside of the mouth accompanied by burning blisters on the tongue. The whole area around the mouth is sore, with splitting and crusting skin. Other indicators for this remedy include bad breath and a foul taste. The type of person who responds to Capsicum will typically be sensitive, nostalgic and phlegmatic (retiring, mild). They are drawn to the past and home. Indeed, all of their complaints are made worse when they are away from the comfort and routine of home life.
This is a plant whose common name is the House leek, from the Crassulaceae family (of which Sedum is a member). As well as being a remedy for Herpes simplex, this is a specific remedy for a highly ulcerated mouth with sore and/or bleeding gums – with inability to eat because of intense pain and discomfort. The symptoms are worse at night.
Calendula/ Hypericum Tincture
A combination of Calendula and hypericum tincture or balm will help soothe, heal and resist infection.