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How to reduce cold sore swelling

Swelling is the body's natural response to injury and infection. It reduces the risk of a foreign substance – whether it's an invading virus or a simple splinter – making contact with further tissue in the body. While it's painful and unsightly, swelling is actually a good thing.

When an injury or infection occurs, mast cells* in the damaged area will release pharmacologically active** chemicals, such as histamine, which prompt blood vessels to release fluid into the surrounding tissue to 'bulk up' the affected area.

The function of this extra fluid is to isolate the foreign substance, be it a virus or physical item, and prevent it from working its way further into the body. Additionally, the affected area will attract extra white blood cells as the immune system begins repairing the damage.

Swelling also occurs due to the build-up of dead cells and infectious agents, as white blood cells attack and 'eat' them in a process called phagocytosis. This word comes from the Ancient Greek for phagein (to devour), kytos (cell), and -osis (process).

Why does my cold sore cause swelling?

During an outbreak, you are likely to suffer the symptom of swelling around the cold sore, as well as the surrounding skin, due to the tissues being damaged by the HSV-1 virus. This will trigger the mast cells to release chemicals and white blood cells to fight the virus, causing the area of the outbreak to look red and swollen.

The majority of people will not be left with any scars after the cold sore has healed, but during the outbreak the unpleasant symptom can cause great discomfort.

Using Herstat to ease swelling

Herstat's ingredients have been carefully selected to help your body's natural defence mechanisms fight against viruses and work more effectively.

Our cold sore treatment creates a moist environment, which has been scientifically proven to promote wound healing, and also forms a protective barrier across the cold sore to prevent further infections from entering the body.

A moist environment, together with the protective barrier formed against foreign substances, soothes the skin and helps reduce cold sore swelling.

Herstat also contains Propolis ACF – a natural antimicrobial substance which not only acts as a preservative, but also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which assist in speeding up the healing process and reducing swelling.

Want to know more about Herstat?

At 2g a tube of Herstat might look small, but a little goes a long way. Because our treatment is oil-based, rather than water-based like many others, the product is thicker and so you only need to use a small amount with each application.

Plus, propolis keeps the ointment completely sterile, so there is no need to worry about spreading infection if you have already used the tube during a previous outbreak.

Herstat is only available online, so you won't find it in your local pharmacist's store.  

To purchase a tube of Herstat today and to read more about this treatment, please click here.


*Mast cells are sensitive cells found throughout ordinary connective tissue. They are part of the immune system's response to injury or infection.

**Pharmacologically active substances affect the physiology and function of the body. These can be artificial or natural. In this case, the chemicals released are natural.