Cold sores are visible signs of viral infections, and are very painful to deal with. The causal pathogen tends to attack the moist and tender skin. Thus sore outbreaks are most likely in the lips, nose, tongue and other mouth parts. Cold sores are also known as fever blisters. Nevertheless, they are neither associated with common cold nor flu. Of course, all cases of infections do result in fever and alike symptoms. But they are not the actual reasons for blister development. Let's see what causes cold sores and how to treat them.
Causes of Cold Sores in Nose
As many of us are aware, cold sores in the facial area are mostly caused due to infection by the type 1 strain of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). More than 90 percent cases of cold sore outbreaks in regions above the waistline are manifested because of HSV infection. In contrary to this, the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is responsible for sore eruptions in the genital portion. Blisters on the face are simply called cold sores or orofacial herpes, while those in the genitals are called genital herpes or anogenital herpes.
In rare cases, HSV-2 is responsible for cold sore eruptions in nose, lips and near the mouth. The same is with HSV-1 causing blisters in the genital parts. Before the visible sores appear, patients experience prodrome symptoms, including burning sensation, itching and tingling in the nose. They are followed by increased redness and development of small, painful, fluid-filled lesions in the nose, or even inside it. Symptoms that usually accompany cold sores in nose are throat soreness, fever and swelling of lymph nodes.
Treating Cold Sores in Nose?
Any case of herpes simplex infection is transmittable from an infected person to another. The common routes for spread of herpes virus are through kissing and direct skin contact with the blisters. As the sores crust over and heal completely, they are no longer contagious. However, once a person contracts herpes simplex virus (any of the two strains), it is impossible to eliminate it from the body. The virus progresses to the nerve roots and resides in a dormant state, until favorable conditions are present to cause infection. Thus, possibility of recurrence flare-ups is very high.
Till date, cure for herpes infection is not formulated. Hence, cold sores in nose treatment is done to combat painful symptoms and shorten the healing period. The ways for treating cold sores remain the same, irrespective of where the painful lesions erupt. So, whether one is dealing with cold sores in nose or the typical cold sores on lips, the suggested treatment drugs, self-care tips and home remedies are the same.
The following is a brief guide on how to treat cold sores in nose.
- As the causal pathogen is a virus, the obvious treatment for cold sores in nose is administering antiviral medications. Based on the pathology and overall disease condition, the doctor may recommend any of these oral drugs, acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir. Also, topical ointments will be prescribed to treat sores in nose.
- One is expected to take prompt action as soon as he/she feels prodrome symptoms. Home remedies include applying ice packs, alum, echinacea tea tree oil, used tea bags and petroleum jelly. That way, treatment can be achieved within 1 - 2 days, i.e. even before the visible signs appear.
- Although it is quite natural to touch cold sores in nose, avoid picking and squeezing them. They cause further irritation and increase the chances of spreading to other areas. While applying topical medications, washing hands before and after application is recommended.
- Maintaining personal hygiene and keeping the affected areas clean are crucial to prevent spreading of sores to remaining parts of the body. Make sure that the fluid-filled blisters are drained properly and rinsed with antimicrobial soap and water. Following these, dab the area dry with a clean towel.
- In order to get prompt results, doctors may recommend supplements for zinc, vitamin C and lysine. They help in boosting the body's defense mechanism directly or indirectly, so as to reduce the sore healing period. Also, these complementary treatments aid in reducing the risk of recurrence in patients.
- Avoiding acidic foods and those containing arginine is an effectual home remedy for cold sores in nose. It is found that the HSV requires arginine and an acidic environment for replication. Thus, by depriving the pathogens of their required growth factors, one can reduce the intensity of symptoms.
For healthy people, prevention of cold sores in nose requires keeping a safe distance from people who carry the herpes simplex virus. And for those who have been through sore outbreaks, avoiding triggers is an effectual way to prevent recurrence. The triggering factors for onset of fever blisters include stress, skin trauma, exposure to sun for long hours, hormonal fluctuations, alcohol consumption, weakened immune system and illnesses.