On this page

Cold sore treatment

Boy and girl sat next to each other
On this page

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is an infection that appears on your skin as small painful blisters. These usually develop on your lips but they can appear on other parts of the face and body. They’re very contagious especially when the blisters have burst.

What causes cold sores?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus has two types, Type 1 (HSV-1) is transmitted by oral-to-oral contact, whereas type 2 (HSV-2) is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).

Is a cold sore curable?

No, however there is a cold sore treatment to suit everyone, whether you want to hide your cold sores with a patch or apply soothing creams to the blisters. Once you have caught the Herpes Simplex Virus the cause of cold sores you will have it for the rest of your life, however this does not mean that you will permanently have a cold sore on your face. The virus will lay dormant within your body and outbreaks of cold sores can be triggered by a number of factors such as cold weather or stress.

How to treat cold sores?

A cold sore should heal on its own within 10 days. However, if you decide to treat your cold sore blisters there are lots of cold sore remedies that you can try. It is important that whenever you happen to touch the scab or fluid from your cold sore that you immediately wash your hands, especially before and after you apply cold sore cream to the blisters.

You might choose to use some home remedies to heal your cold sore, one of the best is making sure that you are drinking plenty of water. This will help your cold sore to heal quicker as your skin will become more hydrated. It also a good idea to think about the foods you are eating too as acidic or salty food can irritate cold sores.

How to get rid of a cold sore?

There is a whole range of cold sore creams and patches that you can buy in your local pharmacy and online to help get rid of your cold sore. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease the pain and calm the swelling. But you may also want to use cold sore patches to conceal the cold sore and reduce the amount of scabbing that you may experience.

Compeed cold sore patches act like a second skin to offer eight hours of protection and aid the body’s natural healing process. Patches can also help to reduce the risk of contamination from the wound; however it is important that you don’t kiss anyone while the cold sore is present, even if you are wearing a patch.

You can also treat your cold sore with creams which can help to sooth the tingling feeling while controlling the infection. A tingling feeling will tend to be noticeable before the blisters break out on the skin; these will then ooze fluid and create painful sores. Topical lotions and creams can offer soothing relief by moisturising the sores and keeping them under control. Your cold sores will then scab over as they begin to heal and eventually disappear.

How do I get rid of a cold sore overnight?

Cold sores usually take up to 10 days to heal completely, however there are measures you can take to speed up the process. You can apply a cold compress to your cold sores as this may help to decrease the redness around the sore, but ultimately they will not disappear overnight.

Online Doctor VideoGP