There are basically 2 stages of cold sores healing process in which the new skin is formed. They are discussed below:
Cold sores is an annoying condition that causes painful blisters to appear around the mouth. In some cases, these blisters appear on the gums and hard palate. Cold sores that occurs from contracting herpes simplex is a sexually transmitted infection. Cold sores cannot be completely cured, and recurrence of this skin infection is noticed among many people.
Stages of Cold Sores
How long the viral infection will last depends completely upon the body’s response to this condition. For a healthy person, the cold sores may end within 8-12 days, but in others it may take even 3-4 weeks to heal. Appropriate treatment can definitely help to speed up the healing process and shorten the duration of cold sore stages.
Stage 1: The cold sore slowly begins to form. As a result, the person experiences soreness and itchiness around the affected part. Eventually the area gets swollen and causes irritation.
Stage 2: Over time, fluid filled blisters are clearly seen on the infected area. These blisters are very small and appear as clusters. In most cases, large-sized clusters are not visible. They are basically tiny, hard pimples, that cause a burning sensation.
Stage 3: This stage is most contagious as the tiny pimples break and form a big ulcer causing extreme pain. A clear fluid is continuously released from the ulcer. The fluid contains newly formed viruses, therefore it is essential to avoid contact with the fluid to prevent the spread of infection.
Cold Sore Stages of Healing: The healing process usually starts 2 weeks after the formation of the sores. However, it can even begin early depending upon the patient’s health. As the scabs slowly begin to develop, after the ulcer vanishes, it is considered to be the first sign of healing.
Stage 1: During this stage, the healing process begins. The ulcer tends to become dry and eventually develops a brownish crust or scab. The person may also experience an itchy sensation. The constant cracking of scabs also causes a lot of irritation. One should not try to remove the crust by hand, as the crust acts as a protective cover to the new skin that is being formed under it.
Stage 2: With the passage of time, the wound that shows formation of a scab subsequently flakes off. Under the scab, new skin begins to form that causes more itching and pain. This indicates that cold sores will soon heal and the skin will regain its original texture. Even though the newly formed skin is free from cold sores, the healing process is not yet complete. The new skin appears reddish and the person is still contagious. The condition is said to be totally healed when the redness disappears.
Pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen provide considerable relief. Applying ointments that include Benzyl alcohol (Zilactin) or lidocaine can also help to relieve the discomfort.
Antiviral medicines like Acyclovir, Famciclovir, and Penciclovir are also prescribed by doctors to lessen the severity of the infection. However, Vaseline or other petroleum-based products should not be applied, as they keep the infected area moist, which in turn slows down the healing process.
An easy way to speed up healing is to strengthen the immune system. Taking garlic supplements and Vitamin C tablets can boost the immune system. Lysine dietary supplements in the form of capsules (1000 mg) before meals, three times daily, can also help to reduce cold sore healing time. Instead of supplements, one can have vitamin C-rich foods and a garlic clove daily.
Application of ice cubes or warm compresses over the blisters can also help to hasten the healing process. A holistic approach to treat this condition would be to use tea tree oil or aloe vera juice, as they destroy the germs and heal the infection faster.
A natural way to heal cold sores involves making a solution of olive oil and salt, and then applying it over the affected area. Another remedy involves mixing one drop each of neem oil, jojoba oil and tea tree oil, and then applying on the affected skin several times in a day. The antiviral properties of these plant oils are effective to limit spread of herpes virus and shorten the healing time.
Foods high in amino acid arginine are known to spur the growth of herpes virus, thereby prolonging the healing time of cold sores. So avoid or considerably minimize consumption of eggs, fish, red meat, coffee, chocolates, foods made from whole wheat, nuts, spinach and lentils, as they are high in arginine.
However, foods rich in lysine protein, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are known to improve the condition and limit the spread of herpes simplex virus. This protein and the simplex virus do not go well together. Lysine, commonly found in most dairy products can play an important role in healing of cold sores wound.
Application of topical products such as Abreva is highly effective to speed up healing of this viral infection. Approved by FDA, Abreva not only decreases the severity of symptoms but also shortens the healing time. The medicine penetrates deep into the skin to heal the wound from inside. Apply this ointment 3-4 times everyday to get rid of cold sores within a week.
Some people, in order to get rid of cold sores, try to squeeze the blisters. However, this will not help in any way to eliminate cold sores. On the contrary, the condition will worsen and increase the time span of cold sore healing.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.