To ease the discomfort of a cold sore, you may want to try the following tips:
May 15, 2015
- Apply a cold sore ointment. Docosanol (Abreva) is an over-the-counter cream for cold sores. It must be applied frequently and may shorten an outbreak by a few hours or a day.
- Try other cold sore remedies. Some over-the-counter preparations contain a drying agent, such as alcohol, that may speed healing.
- Use lip balms and cream. Protect your lips from the sun with a zinc oxide cream or lip balm with sunblock. If your lips become dry, apply a moisturizing cream.
- Apply a cool compress. A cool, damp cloth may reduce redness, help remove crusting and promote healing.
- Apply pain-relieving creams. Over-the-counter creams with lidocaine or benzocaine may offer some pain relief.
- AskMayoExpert. Cold sores. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Habif TP. Warts, herpes simplex, and other viral infections. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Herpes simplex. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/herpes-simplex. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Herpes simplex. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. www.merckmanuals.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Cold sores. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Wolff K, et al. Viral diseases of skin and mucosa. In: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Rakel RE. Dermatology. In: Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Herpes simplex virus. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Klein RS. Treatment of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in immunocompetent patients. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2015.
- Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: W.B. Saunders; 2011. http://dorlands.com/index.jsp. Accessed March 25, 2015.
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