Cold sores are common, and they can affect anyone at any age. Millions suffer from them every year, but decide not to seek medical help because there’s no known cure. They just wait for them to go away on their own.
Many of those who have cold sores will turn to OTC treatments, or cover them with a medicated Compeed Cold Sore Patch. This will treat and conceal the condition, which is a good option if you have to spend time around strangers or work colleagues.
Should you keep cold sores moist or dry? Most doctors believe that you should keep cold sores moist so that they don’t crack, and HERP-B-Gone can really help. If you want to find out how and why it works so well, click on the link below:
However, there are experts who believe that dry conditions help with the healing process, perhaps if you have really oily skin. In most cases, keeping cold sores moist is preferred. This seems sensible as you don’t want cold sores that ooze as it spreads the infection.
In this article, we will explain the pros and cons of keeping cold sores dry or moist, and help you find some of the most effective ways to treat them. You can find out more about the top 3 ways to get rid of cold sores by clicking on the link below:
Table of Contents:
Should You Keep Cold Sores Moist or Dry?
If the blisters are dry and the crust doesn’t have any moisture, they will become itchier. You may scratch the blisters or break open the crust, and that can spread the infection. You can worsen the condition, and there is a risk of other skin infections.
The other side of the argument is that, if keep cold sores dry, they are likely to heal more quickly. Devoid of moisture, they will dry out a lot faster. There is no guarantee, but this approach does work for some people. You will need to avoid scratching the area during itching, tingling and burning sensations as it has the potential to spread the virus, which would have the unfortunate consequence of causing new cold sores to form.
How Do Cold Sores Form?
Cold sores usually begin as a tingling sensation around the lips. For several hours, you will experience an itching and tingling sensation and tiny spots will start to appear a few hours later. Suddenly, you will see blisters appearing in those places. The itching, tingling and burning sensations will start to worsen at this stage.
The blisters will spread and will be filled with fluid. It could be a tiny cold sore if the outbreak is minimal, but you may find that half of your lip becomes blistered. While cold sores are most common in and around the lips, they can also appear around the mouth or on the cheeks and chin.
Over the next few days, the blisters will burst open, ooze fluid, and a crust will develop over the area. The crust will dry up and the blisters will heal. You won’t experience any scarring once they’re gone.
Now that you know the symptoms and the various stages of cold sores, you’ll realize that keeping cold sores moist will reduce the itching and tingling sensations. Using topical solutions, like ointments and creams, help with the healing process.
How to Treat Cold Sores
There is no known cure for cold sores. It is a virus, and even if you take antiviral medicine, there is no certainty that it will target the herpes simplex virus type 1, which causes cold sores. There are many triggers of cold sores. The root cause may be the virus, but the facilitators could be anything from the common cold to a weak immune system.
Use of Prescription Medications
You can use some prescription drugs, such as Acyclovir (Xerese, Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), Famciclovir (Famvir) and Penciclovir (Denavir).
Over-the-Counter Treatment Options
Try using home remedies, or get some over the counter ointments and creams. You can try Docosanol, better known as Abreva, which is used for cold sores. You can use lip balms and chapsticks to keep cold sores moist, and you can use products that moisturize but also have drying agents, like alcohol. This would help to speed up the healing process.
Use a cool compress with a damp cloth. This will reduce redness, facilitate healing, and also help with the removal of the crusts. You may also use pain relievers. There are creams that offer you respite from the itching, irritation, tingling, and burning sensations.
If nothing else, use a moisturizer to keep cold sores moist. Many people use alternate medicines, and you can read more about them (and watch an interesting video!) by clicking on the link below:
How Long Do Cold Sores Take to Heal?
The choice of antiviral medicine is unlikely to protect you. Cold sores heal naturally. For some people, it takes a fortnight while for others it can take up to a month. For older people, cold sores may take more than a month to heal. Those who suffer from frequent cold sores may experience chronic symptoms and have several outbreaks a year. A cold sore treatment can speed up the healing process or conceal cold sores.
Are There Any Potential Complications?
Diagnosing cold sores is not difficult, but the challenge lies in complications. If you have gum erosion, a sore throat, aching muscles, swollen lymph nodes, the sores won’t show any sign of healing for weeks. If you experience irritation of the eyes, if you have serious burns, any other viral disease including HIV/AIDS, then there can be complications.
Are Cold Sores Dangerous?
As long as cold sores are confined to blisters on and around the lips, they are not threatening, but some other areas (such as near the eyes) should be checked out by a medical professional.
A doctor may take a sample and test them to ascertain the severity of the outbreak. In some cases, people have viral infections in their mouths or an eye infection. You may also find that infections spread to other organs, including the brain and spinal cord.
Should you keep cold sores moist or dry? If you want to heal the area quickly, keeping them as dry as possible will accelerate the healing process. Just be warned that it’ll be much easier to spread the virus. If you keep the area moist, it will be less likely to crack or split. The healing process will be a bit slower, but you’ll be much less likely to develop new cold sores in close proximity.