The harrowing experience of a cold sore usually lasts up to four weeks. In this time, it morphs from stage to stage – starting out as a tiny tingle and then growing into a painful, weeping monstrosity before calming down as a scab. Let’s take a closer look at cold sore stages, and the best ways how to get rid of cold sores.
Stage One – Dormancy
The dormant stage implies that herpes simplex -1 virus – the cause of cold sores – is “sleeping” in the nerve tissues of the skin. It hasn’t been activated – yet – and is therefore waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc all over your face. This moment arises when the immune system is compromised. It can be the result of colds and flu, emotional stress of physical over tiredness. Prevent the activation of HSV-1 by taking care of yourself! Eat healthy foods, exercise and rest.
Stage Two – Prodrome
The Prodrome stage is the harbinger of bad news – HSV-1 has been activated and it’s on its way! You can tell this is happening by uncomfortable, tingling sensations that begin to work on certain parts of the skin, usually where the cold sore is due to appear. These include the lips, nose and chin.
Doctors say that the second stage of cold sore development is the most crucial in terms of treatment. There are many topical lotions that nip the growth of the virus in the bud, saving you from the embarrassment of later, uglier cold sore stages. A good home remedy is full-fat milk, a substance that is rich in lipids that actually retard the reproduction of viruses, including herpes simplex-1.
Stage Three – Inflammation
If you don’t catch the cold sore at stage two, sorry for you! Things are only going to get nastier. Stage three marks the emergence of a red, swollen mark on the surface of the skin. Look for topical over-the-counter creams with good anti-inflammatory properties to combat this. Witch hazel is an excellent natural astringent for swollen sores.
Stage Four -Pre-sore
The sore becomes even more disagreeable at the fourth stage. This is when hard, yellow little blisters appear on top of the swollen skin.
Stage Five – Open Sore
Horror erupts when these blisters pop, emitting a clear but infectious fluid that is rich in HSV-1. This is when the sore is at its most contagious. The best you can do at this stage is to lock yourself away from the world and avoid sharing hugs, kisses and eating utensils.
Stage Six – Crusting
Everything gets crusty from here on out. When the secretions thankfully stop, the sore develops a kind of yellow protective crust. This is all fine and well, until you begin to eat, talk and smile. The crust is particularly flimsy, and is prone to cracking and breakages. These instances are very painful. It’s best to protect the crust with a soothing coat of petroleum jelly or lemon balm.
Stage Seven – Healing
Relief is on the horizon with stage seven. HSV-1 slowly begins to retreat back into the nerve ganglia of the body. Crusting is less painful. After a while, the crust turns into a flaky scab.
Stage Eight – Post-scab
Finally, the scab flakes away. Underneath, you’ll find an area of skin that is slightly sensitive and red. This is healing skin, which will eventually strengthen and return to normal. However, it’s also particularly vulnerable to secondary infections. Coat it with some petroleum jelly or medicated lip balm. A swab of apple cider vinegar will accelerate the healing process.
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