How to Get Rid of Cold Sores
If you are experiencing pain, some other treatment options you may want to try include:
- Holding cool compresses to the sores for a few minutes several times a day
- Holding ice packs to the sores for a few minutes several times a day
- Taking aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to relieve pain and fever.
Whether or not you are prescribed medicines, there are other precautions you should take when cold sores erupt to speed up healing and prevent spreading the virus to others. Some of these precautions include:
- Keep the cold sores clean and dry to prevent infections
- Eat a soft, bland diet to avoid irritating the sores and surrounding sensitive areas
- Be careful not to touch the sores and spread the virus to new sites, such as the eyes or genitals
- To make sure you do not infect others, avoid kissing them or touching the sores and then touching another person
- Wash hands after contact
- Do not share utensils, napkins, towels, toothbrushes, or any other objects that have touched a cold sore
- Avoid performing oral sex.
There is good news for people whose cold sore outbreaks are triggered by sunlight. Herpes research scientists have confirmed that sunscreen on the lips can prevent sun-induced recurrences of cold sores. They recommend applying the sunscreen before going outside and reapplying it frequently during sun exposure. The researchers used a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 in their studies.
Little is known about how to prevent recurrences of cold sores that are triggered by factors other than sunlight.