You wake up with a small cluster of tiny, harmless-looking, white blisters, which quickly explode into a painful sore the size of Rhode Island. (OK, so maybe it just looks that big to you.)
Many people get confused about whether they have a cold sore or a canker sore. But that confusion is easily cleared up. Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, which is usually acquired in childhood through contact with infected saliva. The type 1 virus is believed to lie dormant in certain nerve cells of the body until it is activated by stress, anxiety, a cold or excessive exposure to the sun. It causes sores on your external lip or near your mouth or nose that last anywhere from seven to 14 days. (Herpes simplex virus type 2, on the other hand, is transmitted through sexual contact and causes sores and ulcers in the genital area.)
Although many people use the terms “cold sore” and “canker sore” interchangeably, they’re different. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are bacterial infections inside the mouth that are characterized by small, round, white areas surrounded by a sharp halo of red. And while cold sores are highly contagious, canker sores are not. (For more on canker sores, see Home Remedies for Canker Sores.)
You can’t cure cold sores, and they like to keep coming back, usually to the scene of a previous visit. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer in silence with cold sores.
How to Heal a Cold Sore Naturally using Essential Oils:
Apply one or two drops neat (undiluted) Essential Oils to the outbreak area as often as every 2 hours and not less than 3 times per day. Continue for 3 days after symptoms are gone. Melissa and Lemongrass are highly recommended, Melaleuca and Peppermint are suggested oils. Lavender, Myrrh, or a blend of Frankincense and Sandalwood can also be used. Some find Melissa irritating to the skin and advise always diluting with a carrier oil. For any of the oils use at least a 50/50 dilution when applying to a sensitive area and increased dilution for children or those with sensitive skin.
Special Precautions: Do a skin test with the oil(s) to be used. When applying oils keep hands away from other areas where viral infection may be transmitted, including the eyes. With genital herpes, it is wise to seek the help of a licensed health professional and review any self-help program planned for use.