Cold Sore Remedies – 32 Different Treatment Options

In as much as the condition is not a serious illness, it turns out to be unsightly and uncomfortable. No one is at peace with the thought of having swollen red blisters around the border of your lips. Contrary to what most people think, the condition is as a result of the herpes simplex type 1 virus which is the virus responsible for causing the condition. It is not as a result of having a cold or the flu.

Just like most viral infections, once an individual is infected with the virus and successfully treated, the virus remains in the body. The herpes simplex type 1 virus remains dormant in the nerve roots of the infected body part until when it is activated. Some factors such as emotional stress have been known to contribute to the activation of the virus causing recurring cases of the condition.

As a mild infection, the condition can go away even without administering any form of treatment. In most cases, healthy individuals tend to heal within five to seven days of contacting the infection. With that said, there are some remedies that can be used to speed up the healing process. The best thing about the options available is that some of them do not even require the intervention of your doctor. The non prescription treatment options can be administered at home while there are those that may require the intervention of a physician. The list below contains some of the best treatment options for the medical condition that can be used to successfully relieve you of the symptoms.

Different types of treatment option

As mentioned above, the virus remains dormant within the nerve roots until when the condition re-emerges. This therefore means that it is hard to find a permanent remedy for the condition. You can treat this condition by using either home or medical treatment options. These available options should help you with the condition.

Home remedies

1. Attempt covering the infected area

Though it sounds rather vague, if you cover the infected area appropriately with petroleum jelly, chances are that the jelly will protect the cold sore from getting secondary infection caused by bacteria and ultimately speed up the healing process.  Besides the petroleum jelly, you may also attempt to apply any local anaesthetic ointment that contains benzocaine. Benzocaine has the effect of numbing the pain which is normally associated with condition. At no point should you try to cover the infection with lipstick or any other make up for that matter. The fact that make up contains harmful chemicals may actually aggravate the wounds causing more harm than good.

2. Apply apple cider vinegar

Cider vinegar works in such a way that it dries out the blisters and kills the bacteria and ultimately evens out the pH of the infection. The vinegar does sting but its effectiveness cannot be underestimated. Soak cotton on the vinegar and use it to dab on the infected area.

3. Manage your stress levels well

Since there is a positive correlation between your stress levels and an increased likelihood of triggering this condition you need to properly manage your stress in order to have a chance of reducing the cases of the medical condition. Managing your stress levels does not only help prevent future outbreaks, it also helps reduce the amount of time one has to be exposed to current outbreak.

4. Eat a healthy diet

Both physical and emotional stress has been identified to be major triggers. When this happens, your body needs to be in its finest form in order to be in a better position of fighting back. This treatment option is without a doubt among the best cold sore remedies. A healthy diet is supposed to involve fresh fruits and vegetables. This way you get to maintain a high level of multivitamin. Instead of using supplements, a balanced diet can work wonders for you.

5. Use antibiotics to treat severe cases

Most of the cases tend to heal on their own. The fact that there is no permanent cure for the condition does not mean that you cannot treat it. Antibiotics should be administered to individuals with severe cases and are purported to have a weak immune system. Since chances are that during severe cases an individual is likely to have a bacterial infection, the antibiotics can help with that.

6. Avoid the causative agents

The triggers are the ones responsible for the recurring cases of the condition. Since the virus remains inactive in our bodies, chances are that with the right kind of triggers, the condition can easily re-emerge. Therefore, it is very important to identify these triggers so that you can be in a better position of avoiding them. Some of the commonly known causative agents include but not limited to: fever, dental work, menstruation, trauma, food allergies, fatigue, stress, changes in the immune system and flu/cold.

The best way of avoiding such triggers is by participating actively in stress relieving techniques such as meditation and exercises. Reading is also a good way of dealing with the causative agents.

7. Garlic has been used as home remedy

The mere fact that garlic has for a long time been used in taking care of minor ailments makes it effective when it comes to treating cold sores. Regardless of the fact that a number of cold sore remedies can be effectively used to treat the condition, garlic works wonders for you. What you need to do is crush it and apply it on the area for about 10-15 minutes and wait. Garlic contains some antibacterial properties which can help in disinfecting the spot hence speeding up the healing process. Do not be bothered by the stinging properties that garlic may cause you.

8. Go for a pack of ice

Pressing a pack of ice on the infected area can do you wonders. If this is done while the infection is still in its early stages, it can greatly reduce the infection period. They somehow offer a temporary relief to the pain that is commonly associated with condition. The fact that ice packs do not contain any chemicals means that it goes easy on the infected area causing you a lot of relief in the mean time.

9. Take a lot of lysine

Dairy products have been identified to contain elements that work best as cold sore remedies. The herpes simplex type 1 virus contains a primary protein which can be easily dealt with the protein that is normally found in dairy products such as yogurt, cheese. To increase the likelihood of your healing, you may also want to look for lysine supplements from your local health food store.

10. Try as much as possible to avoid touching the area

In order to stay free of any bacterial infections, you may want to behave yourself and avoid touching the infected area. Never squeeze it or prick it. There are those few individuals who have a habit of getting their hands on everything. If you are that kind of a person, avoid with this kind of infection as it is highly contagious. By touching it, you may risk infecting others. Wash your hands regularly in case you touch the infected area. A hand sanitizer can be a helpful item to have around when suffering from the infection.

11. Use different toothbrushes during the treatment process

The disease is very contagious. The herpes simplex type 1 virus can be easily transmitted through sharing of items such as toothbrush and lipstick. Therefore, avoid as much if possible. When treating the condition, make sure you change your toothbrush after the blisters have formed and after the infection has completely cleared. This way you greatly reduce the chances of contacting the infection again. A toothbrush can host the virus only to transmit it later on. Stay safe and make a habit of changing toothbrushes especially if you are prone to the infection.

12. Put a tea bag

Tea bags contain both nutrients and antioxidant which are very effective when it comes to soothing the infection. The active ingredient in the tea bag also speeds up the healing process and makes the symptoms less severe. The way to go about this is, after using the tea bag, refrigerate the same or better yet place it in a freezer to cool before placing it on the infected area.

13. Let the magic behind zinc lozenges work its wonders

Stress and a weak immune system have been identified to be some of the causative agents of this condition. When you are stressed taking zinc lozenges can go a long way in boosting your immune system hence helping you reduce the recurring cases of condition. Whichever way you look at it zinc lozenges has been rated among the best cold sore remedies.

14. Quarantine your sore whenever you suffer an outbreak

It is a well known fact that the herpes simplex virus is highly contagious. Therefore, the most obvious thing for one to do when there is an outbreak is to avoid any form of mouth to mouth or mouth to body action. You may also want to avoid sharing your utensils with other people. This will help reduce the chances of spreading the infection to others. Personal hygiene will also help prevent the spread of the infection. In that connection, try washing the infected area gently with soap and water.

15. Wipe with hydrogen peroxide

As a remedy, hydrogen peroxide works in such a way that it kills bacteria that may infect the blisters. The antibacterial also helps to dry out the skin around the infected area. To speed up the healing process, you may want to wipe the area with hydrogen peroxide a couple of times a days.

16. Aloe gel

Aloe Vera has been associated with a number of beneficial abilities to an individual. It helps heal the skin from abrasions, sunburns and other skin problems. Dabbing a little bit of aloe vera on the infected area a couple of times a day can go a long way in helping you ease some of the discomforts that are normally associated with the condition. Additionally, it helps to speed up the healing process. To enhance the soothing sensation, you may also want to refrigerate it. The treatment option is safe to use even when it gets into your mouth.

17. Wash it away

Among all the cold sore remedies, personal hygiene is the most practical and it is also very critical when it comes to treating this infection. The infection is very contagious hence cleaning the spot gently can help reduce the chances of spreading the infection to other areas. Clean the spot and apply sunscreen or petroleum jelly to speed up the healing process.

18. Apply sunscreen to your lips

Your lips need protection from the sun considering the fact that the sun rays can bring about recurrent cases of the condition. If you’ve had prior cases of the infection, get into the habit of applying sunscreen to your lips.  There are sunscreens that are specifically designed for this purpose (those with an SPF of 15 or higher). Your lips will remain protected throughout the experience hence increasing your chance of staying infection free. If you find it hard to access that kind of sunscreen, go for a lipstick that contains sunscreen.

19. Vitamins E and C helps

Vitamins help in providing your body with the nutrients required to fight off the condition and possibly prevent future outbreaks.

20. Identify the condition before it surfaces

Early diagnosis of the condition can go a long way in helping you reduce the amount of time of your current outbreak. Early diagnosis means that treatment can start as early as possible to help speed up the healing process. Some of the antiviral medicines are known to work best during the early stages of the infection.

21. Apply visine to reduce redness

Anyone who finds it hard to make it to the pharmacy can always try the old fashioned way of dealing with the condition. Visine is a very popular eye drop that contains some healing properties. If applied correctly, Visine can help speed up the healing process by reducing the redness which is commonly characterised with individuals with the condition.

22. Make the most of witch hazel

It goes without saying that among all the cold sore remedies available for home use, Witch hazel is one of the most readily available remedies. It is easily available in your local health store or pharmacy. Most people even use it as an after shave meaning that you should not have a problem finding it. You can use Witch hazel to ease any form of irritation that may come with the condition. It also has a drying effect hence helps to dry out the wounds and the surrounding skin.

23. Painkiller can do you good

The wounds can be very painful at times. When this happens, you may want to deal with the pain by using painkillers. There are a number of non prescriptions over the counter painkillers that are available to help relieve the pain. When the pain is too much, you may opt to go for aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You can be taking these medications while still continuing with the real treatment for the condition.

24. Use tea tree oil as topical antiviral

Tea tree oil has been used effectively for a long time as a topical antiviral that can be used to treat the infection. What you need to do is just to dissolve the tea tree oil in water and apply it to the infected area.

25. Making use of the active ingredients found in licorice

Licorice has been identified as one of the best cold sore remedies as it contains a very active ingredient known as glycyrrhizic acid which has healing properties. Glycyrrhizic acid is capable of stopping the virus cells from spreading. It is therefore important to get yourself into the habit of chewing Licorice. Licorice powder can also be used a handful by spreading of the infected area. One thing you need to remember when using Licorice or any other remedy for that matter is that application should be done in moderation. Too much of Licorice can cause serious side effects on the infected person.

26. Apply milk on the infected area

The saddest part about this is that you do not get to drink the milk. On the contrary, what will be required from you is to soak cotton in a glass of milk and then gently place it on the infected area. It will help relieve any kind of pains the wound may be exposing you to. For a quick relief and a speedy recovery, you may want to use refrigerated milk on the infected area. This works best if it is done during the initial stages of the condition.

Medical related treatment options

27. Apply topical cream/ointments

Most of the topical creams and ointment are easily available with or without prescription and can be effectively used to treat the condition. These creams can be used to relieve you of the pain and any other irritations that may come with the infection. They also help reduce the healing time.

28. Anti-viral creams and tablets

Most of the cold sore remedies are aimed healing the current outbreak and possibly helping in the prevention of future outbreaks. This is because there is not yet a permanent cure for the condition. Antiviral creams such as acyclovir and penciclovir have been identified as good treatment option for the condition. They help in speeding up the healing process of a recurrent case. The best part about these creams is that they are available widely over the counter without even prescription. They work best if they are applied during the initial stages of the outbreak. On the other hand, Antiviral tablets are more effective as compared to the creams. That can explain why they are only prescribed for the severe cases.

29. Use ibuprofen or tylenol to relieve pain (Non-antiviral treatment)

Pain is something you are likely to experience during an outbreak. Use ibuprofen or Tylenol to help relieve yourself off some of the pains associated with the condition. One thing you should take note is that; people suffering from or have had cases of asthma or stomach ulcers in the past should avoid ibuprofen.

30. Take abreva to alleviate pain

The virus responsible for causing this condition cannot be cured. The best treatment option available for this is to try as much as possible to eliminate the pain that comes with it. As an over the counter drug, Abreva speeds up the healing process by alleviating any form of pain that is associated with condition. For efficiency purposes, the drug should be used as many times as possible to increases the chances of a speedy recovery.

31. Administer valacyclovir (valtrex)

In such a case where the infection becomes painful and irritating, your doctor can prescribe to you Valacyclovir an oral antiviral medicine that has the ability of speeding up the healing process and prevents recurrence cases. Most of the antiviral medicines tend to be very effective if they are administered within the first 48 hours of the first symptom showing. The best part about Valacyclovir is that it works effectively though it is somehow expensive. The medicine is absorbed quickly to start the healing process.

32. Cortisone injection

Do you fancy a quick recovery from the infection? If so, then perhaps you need a cortisone injection. The treatment option is specifically designed for those individuals who are after a speedy recovery from the condition. What the injection really does is that, once it is injected, it works effectively to bring the inflammation down.


Regardless of the option you opt to go for, you need to know that you can never find a permanent cure for this condition. All the above cold sore remedies have been identified to work and can be used by anyone who is experiencing an outbreak. If you can avoid the triggers, you can be in a better position of managing the condition.