First things first. Cold sores and fever blisters are the same thing.
I know you probably already know that, but I just want to avoid any confusion.
I’ll be using both terms interchangeably throughout this article.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the real question.
Can you use tea bags for fever blisters, or is it just one of those old home remedies that don’t actually work?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the use of tea bags on cold sores. We’ll cover how well it works, how to do it, the best types of tea to use, and also touch on some other effective remedies for fever blisters.
Table of Contents
- 1 Tea Bags For Fever Blisters
- 1.1 How To Use Tea Bags For Cold Sores
- 1.2 How A Tea Bag Helps Fever Blisters
- 1.3 What Tea Gets Rid Of Cold Sores
- 1.4 The Five Stages Of A Fever Blister
- 1.5 Other Fever Blister Remedies
- 1.6 Should You Keep Cold Sores Moist Or Dry?
- 2 Tea Bags For Cold Sores: Final Thoughts
Tea Bags For Fever Blisters
Tea bags on a cold sore can reduce the duration of the fever blister and may even lessen the severity of the outbreak.
The tannic acid in tea bags gives your immune system a boost and provides antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects to minimize the extent to which cold sore lesions occur.
How To Use Tea Bags For Cold Sores
Tea bags can be an excellent home remedy to use at the first sign of a cold sore. This effective remedy provides antiviral effects, boosts immunity, and has an anti-inflammatory response to fight fever blisters. Here are the steps to use tea bags for cold sores:
Choose Your Tea Bag
Most users recommend Earl Grey tea bags for topical application on fever blisters. However, you can also use any other type of black tea bags, or green or oolong tea.
As far as possible, do not use herbal teas (with the exception of licorice tea), because they do not contain the compounds that can help fight cold sores (see below).
Prepare The Bag
Boil a cup of water and soak or steep the tea bag in it for 5 minutes. You can let the tea cool down and drink it, so it doesn’t go to waste.
Press The Warm Bag On The Sore
Take the tea bag out, and squeeze it gently (be careful, it will be hot!). Test its temperature and once it is bearable, press it down on the area where you can feel the cold sore coming. Keep the tea bag on the sore for up to 5 to 10 minutes.
Reapply 3 To 4 Times A Day
Diligently and patiently use this remedy 3 to 4 times a day. This will lessen the severity of the cold sore and also reduce the pain and irritation. You can use tea bags over the next few days to ensure that the cold sore does not recur.
How A Tea Bag Helps Fever Blisters
You can use tea bags both topically and orally to reduce the lesions that arise with a fever blister. Here are the reasons why tea bags help prevent cold sores:
The tannic acid in teas (black teas contain the most tannic acid) helps reduce fever blisters by boosting the immune system. Cold sores usually arise due to poor immunity, since the body cannot fight off the viruses causing the cold sore lesions.
Researchers at the University of Kansas believe that tannic acid in black teas like Earl Grey not only boost the immune system but also provide anti-viral properties to help fight cold-sore-causing viruses.
Polyphenols in teas like green tea have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic effects. These can help reduce the lesions caused by cold sores.
Consuming green tea and applying it to the skin as a post-face-wash spritz can help give you clearer skin for the same reason.
Almost all teas contain catechins. Catechins are plant-based compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic effects. They also have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. These can reduce skin issues like acne and fever blisters.
What Tea Gets Rid Of Cold Sores
Almost all kinds of teas, such as black tea and green tea, can be effective home remedies for cold sores. However, Earl Grey tea works best, because, in addition to tannins, it also contains bergamot oil.
According to aromatherapy experts, bergamot oil has the ability to inhibit the herpes simplex virus which is responsible for fever blisters.
You can also use green tea as a cold sore remedy. The catechins, polyphenols, and antioxidant compounds in green tea help reduce cold sore lesions, inflammation, and pain. Drinking green tea also boosts immunity which can reduce the duration of cold sores.
If you want to use herbal teas for fever blisters, then licorice tea is a great choice. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties can prevent the viral cells from spreading and also help counteract the symptoms. Drink a cup of licorice tea to strengthen your body to fight the virus.
The Five Stages Of A Fever Blister
Here are the 5 stages of cold sores, along with their symptoms and the degree of contagion:
- Stage 1: This stage runs from day 1 to day 2. It consists of initial symptoms like tingling, pain, soreness, and itching.
- Stage 2: This stage begins runs from day 2 to day 4 and is characterized by a moderate level of contagion. During this stage, fluid-filled blisters may appear.
- Stage 3: This stage runs from days 4 to 5. It is a severely contagious stage. The blisters may ooze and burst.
- Stage 4: This stage spans days 5 to 8 and is moderately contagious. The sores may dry up, and form scabs that may crack, bleed, hurt, and itch.
- Stage 5: This stage lasts from days 8 to 10. The scabs start to fall off as the skin begins to heal. This is no longer a contagious stage.
Other Fever Blister Remedies
In addition to using tea bags, here are some tried and tested remedies that are effective for fighting cold sores overnight and reducing their duration.
- Oil of Oregano: Many people swear by oil of oregano’s antiviral properties that effectively reduce the duration of cold sores.
- Apple cider vinegar and aloe vera: Both apple cider vinegar and aloe vera have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Make a paste of pure aloe gel with organic apple cider vinegar and apply it to the inflamed skin. Leave it on overnight.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Use 3% hydrogen peroxide on cold sore lesions to reduce their duration.
- Raw garlic: Fresh raw garlic stops cold sores in their tracks although this remedy can be quite stinky.
- Lemon balm: This is another highly effective remedy to stop a fever blister and shrink it overnight.
- Docosanol or benzyl alcohol: the American Academy of Dermatology recommends putting this cream on a cold sore overnight to reduce its duration.
- Benzocaine/lidocaine: these ointments help numb the burning pain of cold sores.
- Petroleum jelly: if you have dry, cracked skin (stages 4 to 5) and the scabs are falling off, then you can apply petroleum jelly to the blister.
Should You Keep Cold Sores Moist Or Dry?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends placing a cold, wet towel on the cold sore three to four times a day. Doing so can reduce its redness and bring down the pain.
It is recommended that you dry out the cold sore after day 5 (stage 4). This is because the herpes virus that causes fever blisters thrives in moist conditions under the creams you apply.
After you have used the above home remedies (tea bags, creams, and ointments) and the pain and redness have significantly reduced, it is best to dry out the cold sore by airing it out.
If your skin starts to dry or crack, you can use some petroleum jelly to prevent bleeding near the lips.
Tea Bags For Cold Sores: Final Thoughts
Next time you have a cold sore, try using tea bags for fever blisters around your lips. It’s an easy remedy to try and they do usually lessen the severity and length of cold sore outbreaks.
And this is not the only amazing use for tea bags. You can also use them to lessen tooth pain, or to help stop bleeding. You can use commercially available tea bags for this, or you can make your own.