Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What You Should Know About Cold Sore Remedies

By Richard Wheade

For the approximately 145 million Americans infected with the HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1) virus, sifting through the dozens of cold sore remedies on the market can be a frustrating experience. With oral herpes treatment options ranging from prescription drugs, to over-the-counter medicines and home remedies, it can be difficult to know where to even start.

It should be pointed out that, in all cases, treatment affects only the symptoms of HSV-1, as no cure is available for the virus that causes oral cold sores. Additionally, there is no universally agreed-upon "best" treatment for every individual, as the severity of symptoms, and duration of outbreaks, can vary greatly from one person to the next.

Hopefully, this article can help point you in the right direction to find the oral herpes treatment that best suits you. It is important to remember, however, that none of the remedies discussed herein will eliminate the HSV-1 virus from your body. What they can do, is effectively reduce the severity and duration of your cold sore outbreaks.

Leading Home Remedies

As you may have already discovered, any search engine query regarding "home remedies for cold sores" will produce nearly endless results. For this reason, it would be impractical to discuss every possible home remedy in this article, so we will instead focus only on those remedies that are widely recognized among physicians. The following list represents those home remedies that are known to reduce pain caused by cold sores, and accelerate their healing:

* Mouth rinse that contains baking soda

* Compression with a wet, cool towel

* Use of L-lysine ointment, or taking of L-lysine pills (1,500 mg - 3,000 mg/day)

* Topically applied Vitamin E

* Taking Zinc tablets (max. 60 mg/day during outbreaks) or topically applying Zinc Oxide cream

* Taking Tylenol (not recommended for children under age 20) or Ibuprofen

Leading Over-the-Counter Cold Sore Remedies

You'll find a wide range of creams and topical ointments designed specifically for treating cold sores at your local drug store. While each brand has its relative strengths and weaknesses in comparison to its competition, none have been proven unequivocally superior to the others. There are, however, ingredients contained within certain products that have been proven highly effective at lessening the symptoms of cold sores. Therefore, any topical ointment or cold sore cream you purchase should contain one of the following:

* Docosanol 10%

* Benzocaine 5% - 20%

* Lidocaine 0.5% - 4%

* Tetracaine 2%

* Dibucaine 0.25% - 1%

Prescription Cold Sore Remedies

Should your outbreaks produce cold sore symptoms severe enough that you need to see a physician, you will be prescribed either pills or a topical cream. Pills are generally considered to be the more effective of these two options at reducing the severity and duration of symptoms, while ointments give quicker (albeit, shorter-term) relief to immediate discomfort caused by cold sores.

The following FDA-approved drugs are available in prescription pill form:

* Acyclovir (Zovirax)

* Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

* Famciclovir (Famvir)

Whichever of the cold sore remedies mentioned in this article you eventually use, remember that it will only lessen the symptoms of your HSV-1 infection and will not kill the virus. Over time, however, as is the case with all herpes viruses, your body's immune system becomes more resistant to future outbreaks and limits those that do occur to shorter durations.

Also, keep in mind that there are foods that prevent cold sores. These are great choices and will help with avoiding repeated outbreaks. Check it out.

Also, while you are there, take advantage of a complete cold sore treatment plan on sale now. Buy it once and it is yours for life!!

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