Cold sores, also called fever blisters, can look disgusting, there’s no two ways about it. That’s why they’re so embarrassing, and nothing will hide or camouflage it. But wait! There’s more! They take an eternity to heal. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but two weeks with a cold sore feels like an eternity. Hands up for those that agree.
Although eruptions vary in severity (aka ugliness), any cold sore has most of us canceling plans or not making new ones until it heals.
When you’re a teen, any perceived physical imperfection, as minor or major as it may be, can seem exaggerated. The smallest cold sore can create the illusion of a flashing red arrow pointing to it. Insider news — adults feel that way, too.
There’s a major need to feel attractive, to fit in, to be accepted by peers. It’s abhorrent to think that anything negative about your appearance will make you stick out and feel like a freak.
To the point (finally).
I can’t think of a better way to get rid of a cold sore than to prevent one at the get-go, and they ARE preventable!
First question – do you notice the early warning symptom before the sore erupts? It’s a tingle, itch or numb sensation.
If yes, you are lucky, because that’s when you can prevent a cold sore from materializing.
Here are some choices but realize not one thing works for everyone so accept there may be a little trial and error among the choices:
- Zovirax (generic name acyclovir)
Denivir (generic name penciclovir)
Home and folk remedies:
- Apply a slice of lemon every 30 minutes where you feel the early warning symptom
- Apply crushed garlic or a slice of onion
- Rub ice on the effected area for a few minutes. Repeat each hour
- Eat 100% licorice. It contains glycyrrhizic acid that has antiviral properties
- Apply some of your ear wax (I think I’d rather get the cold sore). And no, I don’t know if this works using someone else’s ear wax. …..Where’s my Pepto Bismol.
Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies
- Abreva (very small tube, about $20)
Herbal based, natural OTC remedies
- Quantum Health’s lysine products (ointment, stick)
- Cold Sores Begone (with lemon balm), works when nothing else does, and when you don’t happen to have crushed garlic on you. (it’s currently on sale for $6.90, free shipping)
INGESTIBLE (you swallow it)
- Famvir (generic Famciclovir)
- Lysine supplements on an empty stomach
- Kyolic, a garlic supplement with antiviral properties
If you don’t notice the early warning symptom
Don’t worry, you can prevent your cold sores, too. Consider taking lysine or Kyolic (or other garlic brand) supplements every day. Check with your doctor about the safety of taking a prescription drug daily.
Personal story: I used to wake up with a cold sore several times a year. I started to keep the small bottle of Cold Sores Begone on my nightstand, applying it every night. Since then, it hasn’t occurred even once in the last 15 years. I’m beginning to think it’s really working.
If you get cold sores from too much sun, prevention can start by making sure you apply a sunblock lip balm as soon as you’re outside. If sores occur from the wind or dry air, keep lips moisturized with a lip balm.
What is a cold sore? It’s that horrible eruption we’ve been talking about caused by the herpes simplex I virus.
How do you get cold sores? The virus is highly contagious when you have an active infection. That’s how it was transmitted to you either by a kiss, or sharing eating utensils, food or a drink, or using their napkin, towel or washcloth. So be decent – don’t do any of those things if you have a cold sore and risk transmitting the virus to someone else.
And the answer to one of the most commonly asked questions, is it a cold sore or canker sore? Cold sores are usually on the lip and surrounding area. Canker sores are ulcerations inside the mouth.
So now you’re armed with all the ammunition. Go forth with your bad cold sore-free self!
About the author
Robin Barr is a business owner, animal lover, information and resources junkie, and a fan of innovation. She's also the inventor of award-winning Cold Sores Begone™, an instant preventative, and Canker Sores Begone™, a healing accelerator. A boomer and ENFP, Robin lives in Mission Viejo, Calif.