Does ice really help in treating cold sore?A lot of questions and answers have been thrown all around regarding the effectiveness of ice in the treatment and management of cold sore. The usage of ice as a treatment modality has seen its spot in the myths and facts about cold sore. Now it is time to shed some facts about ice treatment of cold sores.
Properties of Ice
Ice, due to its cooling properties has an effect to the human cells. It is used to control inflammation and usually used in the management of various injuries related to trauma such as strains, sprains, and tears as well as pain management. It is also one of the primary components in the first aid of athlete injuries; along with rest, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.).
Initially after an injury, the blood vessels at the site dilate (increase in diameter) to facilitate the arrival of the inflammatory mediators, which then starts the inflammatory process (redness, pain, heat, swelling). Cool temperatures inhibit local circulation by constricting (decrease in diameter) the blood vessels in the area, thus subsequently reducing the inflammation.
Using Ice as Cold Sore Treatment
In the perspective of treating cold sore using ice, it helps in the management of cold sore by:
- Reducing the hallmarks of inflammation (redness, pain, heat, and swelling) by decreasing the blood flow to the affected area thus reducing the accumulation of inflammatory mediators that promotes the inflammation process.
- Numbing the nerves in the area affected and desensitizing the area from pain.
- The cold environment it brings creates an inhospitable set-up for the virus to proliferate resulting to a slowing down on the damage produced around the area.
Right at moment a tingle is felt or when the outbreak has just started, using an ice pack or an ice bag, do a cold compress over the affected area. Avoid touching the sore directly. Use this method for 10-15 minutes per session. You can do this 3 times to five times a day.
Always remember that although this is considered to be the universal “first aid” for cold sore, it does not treat the outbreak fully. A combination of other remedies and medications is recommended for the fastest recovery.