Cold Sores

Those itchy, burning, nasty little bastards. What am I talking about? Cold sores, fever blisters. Sometimes people refer to them as cankers but that is a whole other set of “bastard” – it’s not a cold sore. Cold sores are the scourge of hell, they are the painful little blisters that can form (mostly) on your mouth. Sometimes they crop up in other areas like your skin, eyes, folds of skin around the fingers, ears, face.

I get them on the mouth. They drive me bat shit insane and I can’t stand them. I’ve had herpes simplex A since I was about 3 or 4 years old. They can be spread even when they are not active (hence, my kids have them occasionally too, particularly my girls and youngest) so that means a family member who has the disease spread them while inactive (or possibly active, who knows) to me just by kissing me on the cheek.

Herpes Simplex A is not genital herpes, that’s Herpes Simplex B. However, both simplexes can crop up anywhere on the body in the active phase. It sits in the lower spinal column when inactive and dormant but travels up and down the spinal column when it goes active. There are several triggers that cause an “activation” of Herpes Simplex A (or B) from canned tuna preservatives (any canned preservatives actually), chocolate, coffee, stress, wind and sun damage (burns), being sick with a cold or illness, the list goes on.

Some people cannot beat this virus and some seem to stay in the dormant stage for life while others, like me, suffer from the get go with multiple outbreaks and multiple cold sores during those outbreaks. Sometimes for months at end rather than the gory 14 to 17 days.

I’ve tried just about every medication on the market for cold sores. Zinc based, carmex, blistex, polysporin lip treatments, prescription pills – none of them worked except for my savior – Abreva. It’s an OTC (over the counter) medication for cold sores. 2 grams, 22 bucks – would give my left proverbial nut if I had to for this miracle of cold sore obliteration goodness.

Expensive yes, but it works (for me anyway) and it works well. I’m not much of an advocate for “Big Pharma” but whatever they were doing when they made Abreva they did it right for a change. It doesn’t take much of the stuff either and can last (the tube) for quite some time. If your wallet doesn’t like the kick of Abreva’s price tag here’s a few (possibly questionable) home remedies and yes I’ve tried all those too.

#1: Be careful, patch test first before you do any of these and make sure you are careful with sharp things near your face or, err, other sensitive areas and these remedies really are not recommended for those with Herpes Simplex B (genital herpes) honestly.

#2: Take these “home remedies” with a grain of salt – if they don’t work, they don’t work. If they do, awesome.

The Pin and Rubbing Alcohol method.

Take a clean pin (meaning you disinfected it with at least the rubbing alcohol you have there, no don’t put flame to it, it’s actually a very “dirty” way of disinfecting a pin for use in this manner) and gently poke the blister to “pop” it and drain it, wiping or patting excess away from your skin and other areas around it (this is how the virus replicates around the original sore). Take the rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball or Q-Tip and place the solution on the blister.

It’s going to hurt.

What it does is drain the virus filled fluid and the rubbing alcohol dries out the blister. Making it heal faster.

The toothpaste method

A dab of toothpaste on your finger and cover evenly over the blister(s). This method is a less “invasive” version of the pin and alcohol method and is also meant to dry out the blisters to help heal them faster. I’ve done both the above and this one and I’d say the toothpaste one comes out on top for less pain and works just as well.

Plenty more home remedies out there. Those are the two I’ve tried and seem to work with some semblance of efficacy. I’ll take my Abreva at a wallet busting 22 dollars though. It works within 2 to 3 days for me as compared to without at 14 to 20 days (normal course of a cold sore is 7 to 14 days).

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