This is an interesting concept to gather plants into your bedroom to help you sleep. What happened to counting sheep? Or what happened to you work so hard all day; you will naturally sleep at night?
When you’re struck down with Strep Throat, you need to act quickly to get the infection under control.
If you’re unable to get a timely doctor’s appointment, not able to afford medical care, or if you simply want to avoid conventional medicine and prefer natural treatments, home remedies are an obvious choice, and when it comes to Strep Throat, home remedies using essential oils are hard to beat.
In this article we’ll discover which essential oils you can use to combat the infection, and which oils will bring relief from the pain and inflammation so that you don’t have to suffer quite so much while you heal.
Strep Throat Can Be Dangerous
Before we talk about the best essential oils for Strep Throat, it’s important to stress that Strep Throat, while very common and not usually serious, can occasionally lead to other health problems (some serious) if it isn’t brought under control.
Strep throat complications include
- Rheumatic fever – which affects the heart, joints and skin.
- Kidney inflammation.
- Scarlet fever – rash all over the body caused by toxins from the bacteria
- Toxic Shock Syndrome – potentially fatal condition caused by bacterial toxins.
- PANDAS – pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections.
- Ear infection.
- Sinus infection.
- Mastoiditis – an infection of the mastoid bone
- peritonsillar abscess – a pus-filled abscess on the tonsils.
Alternative remedies are great for treating numerous conditions, but sometimes you really do need the big guns of modern medicine. If you don’t begin to see improvement in your throat infection within a week, then you should seek medical advice.
What Is Strep Throat?
Strep Throat is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria – Streptococcus pyogenes. This type of bacteria is contagious and easily spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, direct contact, and by sharing cups and utensils.
To combat the infection, you need to kill the bacteria causing all of the trouble.
Young babies, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and those with diabetes are more likely to suffer complications from a Strep infection than normally healthy individuals.
Strep Throat Is Not The Same as a Sore Throat
A sore throat often accompanies seasonal colds and is caused by a virus, whereas Strep Throat, as we have already seen, is caused by Streptococcal bacteria.
How can you tell the difference? Strep Throat is a lot more painful than a regular sore throat and the redness and swelling in the throat is more widespread.
When you have a cold, your immune generally fights off the virus in one or two weeks, and your doctor won’t prescribe any medication to combat the virus, although you can speed the healing with anti viral natural remedies.
Strep Throat, once confirmed by a Strep Test at your doctor’s office, will usually be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics shorten the duration of the illness, limit the spread of the infection to others, and prevent complications arising.
Antibiotics don’t appear to prevent a recurrence of the infection and many people report suffering from multiple bouts of Strep Throat, with the new infection cropping up soon after the previous one was eliminated.
Recurrent Strep Throat can be due to a drug resistant form of Strep or having a Strep carrier in your family.
Continuing use of essential oils may help to prevent these recurring infections.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Strep Throat symptoms can include:
- Sudden onset of sore throat without any other cold symptoms
- Bright red throat with white patches
- Red splotches on the roof of the mouth or tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Body aches and pains
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea and vomiting
How Essential Oils Can Help
Essential oils are obtained via steam distillation, from the leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruits and barks of certain plants and trees.
All plants need defense mechanisms against the bacteria, viruses and fungi that attack them, and to raise this defense, plants manufacture chemicals. As well as warding off attack from the infectious microbes that plague the plant world, these plant chemicals are surprisingly effective against many of the infections which cause disease in humans.
While all plants manufacture their own chemical weapons, relatively few produce useable compounds that can be captured as essential oils, which is why you’ll find a much wider range of plant medicinals used in herbal medicine than in aromatherapy.
Luckily for us though there are still many plants that we can capture essential oils from, and in this form the plant chemicals are incredibly concentrated and therefore very potent.
All essential oils have more than one therapeutic action, but not all possess antibacterial or antibiotic properties, even so, when used in conjunction with microbe killing oils, the non microbial or less effective antimicrobials can still help to relieve symptoms and ease pain.
For Strep throat specifically, we’re interested in:
- Essential oils possessing antibacterial and antibiotic properties, able to combat bacterial infections including infections caused by streptococcus bacteria.
- Anti-inflammatory essential oils to reduce the swelling in your throat, making you more comfortable and making it easier for you to swallow.
- Immune boosting essential oils to support and strengthen your immune system, helping you to fight the bacteria.
- Analgesic (pain relieving) essential oils, which can be more effective at managing pain than typical over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen.
Antibacterial/Antibiotic Essential Oils
Note – antibacterial and antibiotic are basically synonyms which are used interchangeably to mean that the substance kills bacteria.
In 2013, French researchers from the university of Angers tested 18 essential oils to determine which essential oils could kill Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria.
Of the 18 essential oils tested, 14 showed antibacterial activity against the Strep Throat causing agent.
The antibacterial effects differed among the 14 essential oils with some showing much stronger effects than others.
Researchers used Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria collected from the throat of a child and used this bacteria to test the effects of the essential oils.
Each essential oil was then used on the bacteria and their effects evaluated.
Zone of Inhibition
The zone of inhibition is a test used to determine the effectiveness of antibacterial agents.
To carry out the test, bacteria are spread over an agar plate (Petri dish containing a growth medium for bacteria) and then an antibacterial substance is applied to the center of the plate.
The bacteria on the plate are incubated for 18 to 24 hours at the optimum temperature for bacterial growth.
If the antibacterial substance is effective against the bacteria, then a circular, bacteria free area will form on the plate. The wider the bacteria free zone, the more potent the antibacterial substance.
The five oils with the greatest antibacterial activity had zones of inhibition measuring 45 to 38 mm.
- Cinnamon essential oil (Cinnamomum verum)
- Lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus)
- Thyme essential oil (Thymus vulgaris CT thymol)
- Marjoram essential oil (Origanum compactum)
- Winter Savory essential oil (Satureja montana)
Two oils exhibited zones of inhibition of 18 and 15 mm:
- Clove essential oil (Eugenia caryophyllus)
- Palmarosa essential oil (Cymbopogon martinii var. motia)
Essential oils with zones of inhibition ranging from 13 to 9 mm:
- Camphor essential oil (Cinnamomum camphora CT linalool)
- Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)
- Thyme essential oil (Thymus vulgaris CT thujanol)
- Marjoram essential oil (Origanum majorana)
- Lavender essential oil (Lavandula stoechas)
- Cajeput essential oil (Melaleuca cajuputi)
- Tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Note – CT stands for chemotype and denotes a particular subspecies of a plant grown in a certain area under particular climatic conditions, resulting in a chemically distinct essential oil.
To help put those zones of inhibition into a useful context for you, here are the zones of inhibition against Streptococcus pyogenes for some common antibiotics:
- Penicillin – 39.0 mm
- Ampicillin – 34.5 mm
- Ciprofloxacin – 30 mm
- Amoxicillin – 22.3 mm
- Erythromycin – 14.5 mm
- Vancomycin – 14.5 mm
- Tetracycline -10.5 mm
- Gentamicin – 2.0 mm
It should be stressed that the essential oils in this study were tested in the lab and not used in a clinical setting on patients. However, these essential oils have been used for centuries in European herbal medicine and in Traditional Chinese Medicine and in the Indian Ayurvedic System. Modern research is just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to essential oils.
Before using essential oils to treat infectious illness, you should satisfy yourself as to the effectiveness and safety of the oils you plan to use, or consult a practitioner of natural medicine.
Cinnamon Essential Oil (Cinnamomum verum)
Also known as Cinnamomum zeylanicum, cinnamon essential oil of this type comes in two forms – leaf oil and bark oil. Both forms can result in skin irritation and sensitization, with bark oil presenting a higher risk for sensitization.
Cinnamon bark oil must not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Essential oil experts Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, authors of Essential Oil Safety – A Guide for Healthcare Practitioners, recommend a dermal maximum of 0.7% for cinnamon bark oil and 0.6% for cinnamon leaf oil.
This equates to approximately 4 drops of essential oil in 30 ml or one ounce of carrier oil.
Cinnamon essential oil can be applied topically to the skin, used with direct, steam or diffused inhalation, or used as a gargle.
Lemongrass Essential Oil (Cymbopogon citratus)
In addition to its antibacterial activity, lemongrass essential oil will help to relieve the pain caused by Strep Throat due to its analgesic properties.
Safe for inhalation, topical use and as a gargle.
Tisserand and Young recommend a dermal maximum of 0.7% (4 drops) for this essential oil.
Thyme Essential Oil (Thymus vulgaris CT thymol)
The major constituent of this chemotype of thyme essential oil is thymol which is a known irritant, therefore thyme CT thymol essential oil should be used at a dermal maximum of 1.3%.
An ounce of essential oil contains approximately 600 drops (this varies according to the viscosity of the oil).
To calculate a 1.3% dilution, multiply the decimal equivalent 0.013 by 600. The resulting 7.8 can be rounded up to 8 drops.
Thyme may inhibit blood clotting, so if you take blood thinning drugs you should avoid thyme essential oil or consult your doctor before use.
Not suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
May irritate mucus membranes – if using in a steam, begin with one drop and increase the amount if no discomfort arises.
Marjoram Essential Oil (Origanum compactum)
Marjoram essential oil has analgesic properties as well as the ability to kill bacteria.
Safe for topical use, inhalation and for mixing with water to make a gargle.
Not safe during pregnancy.
Winter Savory Essential Oil (Satureja montana)
Winter Savory is a culinary herb related to thyme. The essential oil obtained from the plant is very high in phenols and contains 30 to 40% carvacrol, and 20 to 30% thymol.
Information on Winter Savory essential oil is quite difficult to find, however due to its constituents it would be wise to follow the same advice given for thyme essential oil.
Winter Savory is known to be unsafe for use during pregnancy.
Clove Essential Oil (Eugenia caryophyllus)
Available as clove bud oil, clove leaf oil and clove stem oil, clove bud is the safest type to use. However there is still a risk of skin and mucus membrane irritation, so it must be well diluted before use.
The dermal maximum for this oil is 0.5%, (0.005 x 600 = 3 drops per ounce of carrier oil).
For inhalation, begin with one drop in water and increase only if no irritation of the mouth or nasal passages occurs.
May also be used as a gargle.
Not safe for use during pregnancy, and could cause blood clotting issues, so those on blood thinners should avoid this essential oil or seek advice before use.
Palmarosa Essential Oil (Cymbopogon martinii var. motia)
Safe to use topically, for inhalation and as a gargle.
Camphor Essential Oil (Cinnamomum camphora CT linalool)
This particular type of camphor oil is also known as Ho Leaf oil and is considered to be safe essential oil for all uses. The main constituent of this oil is L-linalool which is also present in another very safe essential oil – lavender.
Caution – Other types of camphor essential oil have significant potential for causing skin irritation and even toxic reactions, and are best avoided unless used in professional hands. These types of camphor are not a safe oil to use around children in any circumstances.
Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita)
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory, peppermint essential oil will help to combat bacteria, relieve swelling and lessen pain.
Not suitable for use near the faces of infants or young children, but can be used on the torso or limbs. Suitable for adult use as a topical oil, inhalant, and as a gargle.
Thyme Essential Oil (Thymus vulgaris CT thujanol)
According to Tisserand and Young, this thyme chemotype is safe for all uses.
Marjoram Essential Oil (Origanum majorana)
Also known as Sweet Marjoram, this chemotype is generally safe for all uses. However it is not safe during pregnancy.
In addition to its antibacterial properties, Sweet marjoram acts as a pain reliever.
Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula stoechas)
Lavandula stoechas is better known as French Lavender, there are many types of lavender essential oil on the market, so check labels carefully to ensure that you purchase the right one as it’s French Lavender that has the highest antibacterial activity.
All types of lavender oil are known to be exceptionally safe for all uses, and in addition to their bacteria killing properties, this fragrant oil also acts an analgesic.
Cajeput Essential Oil (Melaleuca cajuputi)
Not recommended for use with young children – may cause breathing difficulties.
This essential oil also has mild analgesic properties.
Use topically, as an inhaled oil or as a gargle.
Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
While tea tree essential oil resulted in the smallest zone of inhibition of the 14 effective essential oils tested, it’s a very worthwhile essential oil to consider.
Tea tree is very safe for all uses, contains analgesic properties and acts a powerful immune system stimulant.
While unlikely to combat the infection on its own, tea tree would make a beneficial partner to any of the other oils listed.
Note – When mixing any essential oils be sure to adhere to the dilution standards. For example, 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil, means 12 drops total, not 12 of each oil.
Analgesic Essential Oils
- Eucalyptus Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) – Suitable for topical use and steam inhalation. May cause breathing difficulties in children.
- Peppermint – see above
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Safe for all uses, keep away from faces of infants and children.
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum) – Safe for all uses
- Marjoram – see above
- Lavender – see above
- Tea Tree – see above
- Lemongrass – see above
Anti-inflammatory Essential Oils
- Thyme – see above
- Clove – see above
- Chamomile German (Matricaria retutica) – Safe for all uses.
- Eucalyptus Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) – Suitable for topical use and steam inhalation. May cause breathing difficulties in children.
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – Safe for all uses, however a dermal maximum of 0.4% (2 drops) is recommended to avoid phototoxicity.
- Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – Not suitable during pregnancy or breastfeeding, do not use on young children, seek medical advice prior to use if using blood thinners. Safe for use when used topically, as an inhalant, and as a gargle.
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) safe for all uses.
How To Use Essential Oils
Unlike oral antibiotics which have to contend with the digestive system before they can get to work, essential oils which are inhaled or applied topically, are quickly absorbed directly into the bloodstream meaning they can start to combat infections almost instantly.
This is the easiest way to use essential oils, and it’s perfect for when you need a quick “hit” because you don’t have the time to use the other methods, or you just don’t feel well enough to bother.
Simply uncap the bottle and inhale the aroma which contains the antibacterial molecules. Inhale through your mouth and then your nose.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle a few drops of the oil onto a tissue so that you don’t leave the top off the bottle for too long and expose the contents to oxygen which degrades the oil.
Steam inhalation with added essential oils is of great benefit when you have a cold as it helps to loosen mucus and ease congestion, but it’s also really helpful when you have a throat infection.
The steam will deliver the essential oil molecules to the mucus membranes of your nose and sinuses where they pass quickly into your bloodstream, and the moisture will soothe irritation in your throat and ease inflammation.
When you use an essential oil steam, you’re also delivering stress relieving molecules right to the emotional center of your brain which will help to relax you and make you feel better during your illness.
To make a steam, fill a bowl with boiling water and add 3 to 4 drops (unless otherwise stated) of your chosen essential oil. Lean over the bowl (not too close in case the steam scalds your skin) and drape a towel over your head so that it forms a tent over the bowl and traps the steam inside.
Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply, moving away from the steam to take a break if you need to. Continue to inhale until the water cools and the steam runs out.
An essential oil diffuser uses ultrasonic vibrations to vaporize the essential oil and emit an anti bacterial mist into the air.
A diffuser is an ideal way to benefit from essential oils while you sleep. You’ll find a wide range of diffusers to fit all budgets online at Amazon and similar retailers.
Essential oils can be applied to the skin once they have been sufficiently diluted. Essential oils are very strong and undiluted oils can cause rashes and irritation as well as increase the likelihood that you’ll develop a sensitivity to the oil.
Once you develop a sensitivity, you’ll experience an allergic reaction if you use the oil again in the future, so to make sure that you’re always able to use these powerful natural remedies, take care to dilute your essential oils properly.
Don’t be tempted to use larger amounts of essential oil – even when it seems as though the amounts you are using are tiny.
Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical compounds – for example, it takes 30 pounds of lavender to make 15 ml of lavender essential oil and 65 pounds of rose petals to make 15 ml of rose otto.
As a general rule, a 2% dilution is plenty strong enough for therapeutic use. To make a 2% dilution, mix 12 drops of essential oil with 30 ml (one ounce) of carrier oil.
For children and the elderly a 1% dilution is the preferred strength and to make this use 6 drops of essential oil per ounce or 30 ml of carrier oil.
Your carrier oil can be any plant based oil that you have to hand – sunflower, olive, rice bran, apricot kernel, almond, jojoba, coconut oil, etc.
Gently massage the diluted essential oil into your throat and neck area several times a day, using no more than one ounce of your diluted oil per day.
Some essential oils may be mixed with a glass of water and used as a gargle or mouthwash. The essential oils listed in this article as suitable for use as a gargle are all GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food additives.
Even so, caution should be exercised when using essential oils internally and care should be taken not to swallow the gargle mixture.
Use 2 to 4 drops in an 8 oz glass of water.
Where To Buy Essential Oils
It’s very important to buy pure essential oils (sometimes called therapeutic grade) which have not been adulterated with other substances.
Dishonest vendors will often sell oils (at appealing prices) that are diluted in this manner, and since they haven’t listed the adulterants on the label you won’t know what you’re using on your body, and you won’t get the benefit of a full strength essential oil.
For this reason, the best course of action is to purchase essential oils from reputable vendors like Tisserand, Mountain Rose Herbs, and Plant Therapy, especially when you buy an oil for the first time.
This way you’ll know what genuine essential oils look and smell like, and you’ll become familiar with the effects that they have.
This is what you want is the mosquitos to run away when you come around. Better yet they die when they come around. Did you know that there may be essential oils out there that are powerful enough to repel maybe kill even mosquitos? We all know how annoying mosquitos can be especially when they bite.
Essential oils are the pure essence of a plant. They are extracted from the seeds, roots, barks, stems, leaves, or flowers of a plant by a process of steam distillation.
As well as giving plants their unique scent, essential oils also help to protect plants from disease and predators, as well as assisting with the pollination process which ensures their survival. But the oils aren’t only helpful for plants, they bring us plenty of benefits too.
They have been used in cooking, beauty therapies, and medicines for many years. Essential oils are also widely used in aromatherapy practices, and they are very effective for this purpose as once inhaled, they can easily reach the part of the brain which governs emotion, and mood, via the smell receptors in the nose. This makes them ideal for bringing about benefits in relation to altering mood and stress levels. Some essential oils are stimulating and some are relaxing.
There are over 3000 known essential oils, and their composition varies depending on how they are harvested, what time of year it is, and how they are processed. All these factors impact on the purity of an oil. Oils can be used alone or as part of a blend, depending on the desired benefits of the user.
How essential oils are used
Essential oils are absorbed quickly by the smell receptors in the nose and travel to the limbic system of the brain, which governs mood, emotion, and memory. This makes some oils effective for boosting mood, while others are used for calming purposes. There are many reports of oils being effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Oils can be put into a diffuser so they disperse throughout a room, or they can be inhaled directly from a handkerchief or from the bottle. If you mix the oils with water, they make a good room spray or linen spray. They are also very effective for cleaning household surfaces like toilets, showers, and kitchen worktops.
Essential oils can quickly penetrate the skin. They are widely used in massage, and when diluted with a carrier oil, they can be dispersed in the body more easily and bring about considerable local or systemic benefits. Always do a patch test on the skin of your upper arm to check for sensitivity, and start with a small amount of oil at first. Never apply oil to the ears or near the eyes, or to any areas of sensitive or broken skin. Take particular care with citrus-based oils as these are known to cause reactions and photosensitivity in some people.
Try adding a few drops of oil to your bath, to a hot or cold compress, or to your favourite body lotion to get the benefits.
Many oils have a long history of use in cooking or baking. As well as giving food taste and aroma, they can add many health benefits to it.
Taking an oil as a supplement gives you a very concentrated dose of benefits, but always be sure to follow instructions on dosage, as some oils can be highly toxic in large amounts. Natural does not mean safe. You can use oils instead of dried herbs and spices in cooking, or you can add them to milk, smoothies, and soups. Remember that a little goes a long way though, and that they are very potent, so start off by using a small amount of oil.
The Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes simplex viruses, commonly known as herpes, fall into 2 categories: herpes type 1 (HSV-1, or oral herpes) and herpes type 2 (HSV-2, or genital herpes). Herpes type 1 usually causes sores around the mouth and lips. It can cause genital herpes, but most cases of genital herpes are caused by herpes type 2. With type 2, the infected person usually has sores around the genitals or rectum.
What causes a herpes infection?
Herpes simplex type 1, is transmitted through the saliva or through contact with sores on the skin, so it can be spread through kissing or sharing objects such as toothbrushes or cutlery. Type 2 can only generally be spread by sexual contact with someone who has the infection. Both types can be spread even if there are no visible sores on the skin.
Genital herpes can be passed on to a baby during childbirth.
The virus can lie dormant but it can activate during periods of illness. Here are some common reasons why it might break out:
Physical or emotional stress
Reduced immunity due to an illness such as AIDS or cancer treatment
What are the symptoms of herpes simplex
The symptoms tend to present as a blister or several blisters on or around the mouth, genitals, or rectum. The blisters can break and leave painful open sores.
How is herpes simplex treated?
There is no cure for the virus, but there are treatments which can relieve the symptoms. Medication can relieve pain and speed up healing. It can also reduce the frequency of outbreaks of the infection. Drugs such as Famvir, Zovirax, and Valtrex are commonly used to treat symptoms.
Cold sores are small blisters that appear on the lips or around the mouth. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually clear up on their own without treatment within 7 to 10 days.
When you are first infected, you might not have any symptoms, but some days later, you may notice a tingling, itching, or burning sensation around your mouth, before small fluid-filled blisters appear.
Symptoms of cold sores
If the infection does cause symptoms to appear, they can be quite unpleasant.
swollen and irritated gums with small, painful sores in and around the mouth
sore throat and swollen glands
producing excess saliva
Adults usually experience unpleasant smelling breath and painful sores in and around your mouth which can develop into ulcers with grey or yellow centres.
If you are infected with herpes at a young age, the virus can be triggered again later in life, and recurring cold sores can occur.
Recurrent infections don’t usually last as long as the initial outbreak. You will usually develop cold sores in the same place every time. They may grow and cause irritation and pain. A few days after you experience the initial tingling sensation, the cold sores tend to scab over.
If the cold sores are very painful, it’s possible to stop them growing by taking an antiviral tablet called acyclovir every day for a few months. This is only recommended if cold sores are very painful and problematic, and this is not a cure.
Most cold sores disappear within 7 to 10 days without treatment and most usually heal without scarring.
When to see your doctor
See your doctor if your cold sores are severe and spreading further than just the lip. It’s also a good idea to seek advice if it hasn’t healed after 7-10 days.
Causes of cold sores
Cold sores are normally caused by the herpes simplex virus.
In most cases the virus is contracted in early childhood, when a child comes into close contact with an infected person.
Once you have been in contact with an infected person, the virus passes through the skin and travels up the nerves, where it lies dormant until it’s triggered at a later date.
Cold sore triggers
Factors thought to trigger outbreaks of cold sores include:
having another infection, such as a respiratory tract infection
having a high temperature (fever)
emotional upset or psychological stress
tiredness and fatigue
an injury to the affected area
However, in many cases there’s no obvious trigger for an outbreak.
Cold sores can happen after having oral sex with a man or woman who has genital herpes.
The herpes simplex virus
The herpes simplex virus is very contagious and can be easily passed from person to person by close contact. After someone has been infected, the virus lies dormant in the body but it can be triggered by sunlight, fatigue, or hormonal changes.
Some people get recurring cold sores around 2-3 times per year, while other people have a cold sore and never have another. Some people never get cold sores at all because the virus never becomes active in their bodies.
Treating cold sores
Cold sores usually clear up by themselves without treatment within 7 to 10 days.
However, antiviral creams are available from pharmacies without a prescription, and they can help to reduce symptoms and speed up healing time.
In order for these treatments to be effective, they need to be used at the first signs of a cold sore. If you use a cream after this, it’s not likely to be as effective.
Cold sore patches are also available that contain hydrocolloid gel, which is an excellent treatment for skin wounds. The patch is placed over the cold sore while it heals to reduce symptoms and promote healing. Antiviral tablets might be prescribed for more severe cases.
Complications of cold sores
Cold sores are usually mild, but sometimes they can cause complications. People with weak immune systems caused by illnesses like AIDS, or treatments such as chemotherapy are particularly at risk of complications.
Dehydration sometimes occurs if drinking fluids becomes painful because of the cold sore. Young children are more at risk of becoming dehydrated.
The virus can also spread to other parts of your body. Examples of this are:
skin infections, if the virus comes into contact with broken skin
herpetic keratoconjunctivitis, where swelling and inflammation of your eye area occurs and and sores develop on the eyelids
Left untreated, this can infect the cornea, which can lead to blindness.
Very rarely, a condition called encephalitis can occur, where the brain becomes inflamed and swollen, if the virus spreads to the brain. This can be treated by intravenous administration of antiviral medications.
Preventing herpes simplex infection
You can’t prevent infection with the herpes simplex virus or prevent outbreaks of cold sores, but you can minimise the spread of the infection.
Cold sores are at their most contagious when the blisters burst, but they are contagious until they’re completely healed. Avoid close contact with others until your cold sore has healed.
There’s no need to stay away from work or school however.
Here’s how you can stop the virus from spreading:
avoid touching your cold sores unless you’re applying cold sore cream. Pat creams on gently.
always wash your hands before and after applying cold sore cream and after touching the affected area as you risk spreading the infection
don’t share cold sore creams or medication with others as this can cause the infection to spread
don’t share items such as lip products or cutlery
avoid kissing until your cold sores have completely healed
be careful around babies, pregnant women, and people with weaker immune systems, such as those with HIV or those having chemotherapy
Can essential oils help with cold sores?
Some essential oils can help to treat cold sores because they have antiviral and antifungal properties. They also promote healing. Try these essential oil remedies for cold sores:
1-2 drops tea tree
1 cotton bud, cotton ball or tissue
Place 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil on a cotton bud, tissue, or damp cotton ball.
Dab it onto the sore spot. Repeat this regularly until it has cleared up.
This is most effective if you start applying the oil when you first notice the symptoms of a cold sore such as tingling.
Essential oil astringent
3 drops of tea tree oil (or a blend of lavender, melissa, and tea tree)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Combine the ingredients, and apply to the affected area of skin regularly. Don’t use this method on broken skin.
Lotion for cold sores
10 drops geranium
10 drops lavender
8 drops lemon
2 drops thyme
2 tablespoons of a suitable carrier oil, like argan, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, or macadamia
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl.
Massage the oil onto your whole body, especially the face and neck areas.
Apply once each day
Essential oil healing lotion
This is effective for use when the cold sore has reached its peak and it’s begun to heal.
3 drops tea tree
3 drops bergamot
4 drops lavender or myrrh
5 tsp hypericum/calendula infused cream
Combine the ingredients.
Apply it regularly, but give it time to dry in between applications.
Protective lip balm
This helps to prevent outbreaks of the virus and helps to heal any existing sores.
Lip balm base:
1-ounce white beeswax
2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
10 drops jojoba oil
5 drops carrot seed
Essential oil base:
8 drops geranium
8 drops tea tree
6 drops German chamomile
5 drops lavender
3 drops lemon
Mix the essential oils together.
Melt the beeswax in a glass bowl over a saucepan.
Once it’s melted, add the almond oil, stirring the mixture well.
Add the jojoba & carrot seed oils
Add 20 drops of the essential oil blend, allow it to cool then put it into a glass container.
Apply it 3 times each day
Other effective natural remedies
There are other natural remedies you can try alongside conventional treatments:
Ice Cubes, applied directly onto a cold sore
Apple cider vinegar, topically applied to the skin
Bee propolis paste, applied directly to the skin
Tea bags, dab onto the sore
Coconut oil, applied directly to the sore
Limit exposure to sunlight, as outbreaks of herpes simplex are often triggered by UV light. Use a lip balm with an SPF when you’re outside in the sun.
Avoid foods which are known to trigger outbreaks such as:
Seeds, except flax seeds
Avoid foods containing L-Arginine. It’s an amino acid that’s known to activate the herpes simplex virus. Foods that contain high levels of L-Arginine include
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Let the cold sore breathe
You don’t want your cold sore to be dry all the time, because this would make it difficult for the remedies to work, but you don’t want it to be too moist either, as viruses thrive in moisture. Between treatments, clean the skin and allow it to breathe, which will help it to heal.
Stop the infection from spreading
The liquid inside of a cold sore is highly infectious and if you come into contact with it, it can increase the likelihood of the infection spreading. If you burst a blister or it bursts on its own, clean the skin immediately and wash your hands in case you cause the infection to spread.
Reduce stress to reduce outbreaks
Stress is a common trigger for cold sore outbreaks. If you get frequent, severe outbreaks, look at whether there are any stressors in your life. Practice relaxation techniques, take time out to do things that you enjoy, sleep well, eat well, and take plenty of exercise to look after your mind and body, for better overall health.
Rashes! Rashes! and more rashes On top of unsightly red blotches they are itching like crazy. So, you scratch and scratch until they are inflamed and then they start bleeding and bleeding. You keep scratching and they keep bleeding and when they do heal up they have left nasty scars all over your body.
Now, it is being said that essential oils can lower blood pressure but how can they do that? If essential oils can lower blood pressure which ones can do this? Are not essential oils for making people smell good? Apparently, experts are saying that essential oils can lower blood pressure.
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