Any good cold sore remedies?

So I felt a tingle on my lower lip 2 days ago, but I acted to late on it to put on Abreva. Now it has grown a lot, and I feel whenever I put on Abreva, it just makes the cold sore bigger and drier. I’ve put on Petroleum Jelly on it, but now I’m wondering if there are any good remedies to reduce the time that the cold sore is around.
I read about putting ice on the cold sore, but in all the cases, those have been when the cold sore was just starting. Will this method still work even though the cold sore has grown bigger and worser?
Are there any other remedies that you guys can think of for a fairly big cold sore?


  • Cold sores generally clear up without treatment within about two weeks. One of the most important things you can do is to keep your hands away from it. Don’t pick at it. Picking at it can add a bacterial infection to the viral infection, and it will take longer to heal. Wash your hands immediately after touching the cold sore and avoid touching your eyes or your genitals after touching the cold sore. Keep hand sanitizer handy for those times when you can’t wash your hands.

    There are a few things you can do to help the cold sore heal and to also treat the symptoms. Try covering it with a little vaseline which will help keep it moisturized and so less cracking and less pain. Don’t try to cover it up with make up. That could aggravate it. Avoid getting your lips sunburned. Apply sunscreen to your lips before going outside.

    Avoid foods that might irritate it as it is healing – citrus fruit and juices, salty foods such as potato chips.

    Try chewing real licorice. There is evidence that an ingredient in licorice, glycyrrhizic acid, actually stops the cold sore virus. You do have to make sure it is real licorice, and not an imitation. The list of ingredients should say "licorice mass".

    Ice packs will help reduce the swelling and also help reduce the pain. Use an ice pack for about 15 minutes several times a day. Generally this treatment works best if you do it as soon as you feel the cold sore coming on.

    Soak a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the cold sore. Whole milk is best, not skim. It will help with both the pain and the inflammation, and if you do it as soon as you feel the cold sore coming on it can help reduce the duration of the attack.

    To prevent reinfecting yourself, you should get a new toothbrush when the cold sore has healed. A toothbrush can harbor the virus. This can prevent a recurrence.

    If you get cold sores regularly you probably know about the drug store options for treatment. Lysine has proven very effective in treating cold sores. Abreva treats the symptoms well and has been shown to lessen the duration of an attack. In my opinion the absolute best method to address cold sores is an oral anti-viral medication, Valtrex. Since I started using it (only when I feel a cold sore coming on) my attacks have lessened greatly, when I do have one it lasts only a day or two, and I have not had a bad cold sore in about 5 years.

    If you get cold sores you probably also know what your triggers are. Be aware that there are situations that bring on cold sores that you can avoid:

    too much sun, especially sunburn
    letting yourself get over tired
    fevers, colds and the flu – anything that compromises your immune system
    dental work

    Check here for more information.

  • That sucks.

    I suggest keeping the area clean with raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and applying virgin coconut oil. Both of these can be ingested as well to help boost your immunity. Both of these combat bacterial, viral, and fungi infections.

    A lot of the OTC medications (such as Abreva) have chemicals in it that you may be allergic to, but unfortunately, you won’t find out until you try it.

    Good luck.

  • Babygirl Lemieux

    Tee tree oil best thing for it. Whenever i have a cold sore i apply it often and it goes away in about a day or two. Is a bit expensive but i swear by it. It helps with multiple things also. A little goes along way. Definitely worth your money

  • I feel for the person who originally posted, and though that was already years ago, maybe this info. can help someone else. I frequently suffer from cold sores, have since I was a toddler. I no longer fear I am abnormal for having them, as I now know that so many people do, and that it’s not (always) caused by an STD, so don’t worry too much about a negative stigma.

    This site might offer some helpful info. to anyone who suffers from them:

    Once you have this virus, you will unfortunately have to deal with cold sores, aka ‘fever blisters’, for the rest of your life. I actually am dealing with a bad flu right now and along with that came what I thought was a rash on my hand; I realized today that it is a bunch of little fever blisters all concentrated in one place on the back of my hand. A first time for me. 🙁 I’m just glad that it didn’t decide to do that on my face or worse yet, the eye area.

    One last suggestion: having had these all my life, it always helped when, at the first sign of the tell-tale ‘tingle’ which tells me a blister is coming on, I’d immediately put on some Blistex medicated ointment. This would generally help the blister to heal faster, usually within a week. Last month I paid the extra money for the new over-the-counter medicine, Abreva, and it literally took my cold sore down to about 2 days, when applied at the first ‘tingle’. Well worth the extra money for the small tube, and just a little ointment goes a long way.

    Also – don’t apply things like milk, tea bags, nail polish remover??!!! Please!!

    Good luck – they are not fun, and we certainly don’t feel pretty when they come on, but press on and take care of yourself; before you know it, the blister will be gone and you’ll be back to your old self again.

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