Cold Sores Treatment
Cold sores are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. They're caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually resolve without treatment within 7 to 10 days.
You may not have any symptoms when you first become infected with the herpes simplex virus. An outbreak of cold sores may happen some time later.
Cold sores often start with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth. Small fluid-filled sores then appear, usually on the edges of your lower lip.
Cold Sores Treatment
Cold sores usually clear up without treatment within 7 to 10 days. Antiviral tablets or cream can be used to ease your symptoms and speed up the healing time.
If you develop a cold sore, some general advice to follow includes:
drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
avoid acidic or salty foods and eat cool, soft foods
if brushing your teeth is painful, use an antiseptic mouthwash
dab creams on to sores rather than rubbing them in
wash your hands using soap and water before and after applying cold sore creams
avoid touching your cold sores, other than to use cream, and don't share your cold sore cream with others
Antiviral creams and tablets
Antiviral creams such as aciclovir or penciclovir (also known as Fenistil) may speed up the healing time of a recurrent cold sore infection if used correctly.
Cold sore creams are widely available over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription.
They're only effective if you apply them as soon as the first signs of a cold sore appear when the herpes simplex virus is spreading and replicating. Using an antiviral cream after this initial period is unlikely to have much effect.
If you frequently have recurring bouts of cold sores, use antiviral medication as soon as you feel the tingling sensation that indicates a cold sore is about to develop. You'll need to apply the cream up to five times a day for four to five days.
Antiviral creams can only help to heal a current outbreak of cold sores. They don't get rid of the herpes simplex virus or prevent future outbreaks of cold sores occurring.
Antiviral tablets are more effective than creams at treating cold sores but are usually only prescribed for more severe cases.
The standard pills prescribed for cold sores:
Cold sore patches
Cold sore patches that contain a special gel called hydrocolloid are also available. They're an efficient treatment for skin wounds and are placed over the cold sore to hide the sensitive area while it heals.