It’s a familiar feeling. Something just doesn’t feel right on your lips or on the outer edges of your mouth.
Fever blisters are also known as cold sores. According to the Mayo Clinic, a few days after you notice a tingling on your lip, a fever blister appears.
Many people believe that a fever blister – or cold sore – is the same thing as a canker sore. They’re actually very different. Canker sores aren’t contagious. They’re ulcers that arise in the soft tissues of your mouth where fever blisters usually don’t occur.
Fever blisters, however, are the result of the herpes simplex virus. While type 1 is usually the culprit, the Mayo Clinic reports that either type 1 or type 2 can be responsible for the lesions. These blisters are contagious and recur periodically when the body is under physical stress such as another illness.
The traditional treatment for fever blisters is just letting them disappear over a two-week period. Some patients end up seeing their doctors to receive antiviral medications, however.
HealthGuidance offers a number of at-home remedies you can use for fever blisters:
Axe some foods. For faster healing, eliminate any foods containing chocolate, peanuts or other nuts, grains, peas, seeds or oatmeal plus any whole-wheat products.
Use aloe. When the burning or tingling sensation occurs, put either a little juice from the aloe plant or a dab of aloe gel on the blister. This should stop the sore from growing and also jumpstart the healing process.
Apply cornstarch. Using a paste will make you more comfortable.
Try grapefruit seed extract. Mix just one or two drops with either olive oil or aloe. Dab the mixture on the fever blister.
Apply an ice cube. Apply one cube on the fever blister for 10 minutes each hour as soon as you sense a sore is developing. This should halt the virus from progressing to the skin.
Use mint extract. When you apply a small amount of extract of mint, the healing process picks up speed.
Apply extract of lemon balm. It both accelerates healing and reduces your symptoms.
Use an herbal mixture. It should contain equal parts of calendula, oats, echinacea, burdock and lomatium. Taking half a teaspoon up to five times each day can sooth the affected tissue, kill virus and bacteria and remove toxins from your body.
Drink sage tea. Add a pinch of powdered ginger. Drink the tea until the blisters clear.
Apply a tea bag. After steeping the bag, apply it directly to the fever blister. The problem should go away within a few days.
Moisturize with petroleum jelly. It softens fever blisters and helps avoid cracking and bleeding.
Apply St. John’s Wort essential oil. This soothes the sore, cuts your pain and escalates healing.
Use table salt. Moisten a finger or a cotton swab, apply table salt and press it on the fever blister for one minute twice a day for a few days.
Others. HealthGuidance also recommends using spirit of camphor and witch hazel on cold sores.
The Mayo Clinic cautions that while fever blisters typically clear up on their own, you should see a doctor if you have a pre-existing condition that compromises your immune system or if your cold sore doesn’t heal within two weeks. Severe symptoms, frequent recurrences and eye irritation should also send you to the doctor.