Tackling cold sores

From the second you feel that familiar tingle on your lips and you know a cold sore is soon to arrive it can put anyone into a bad mood.

It’s a frustrating, painful, and for many people, an embarrassing nuisance.

So if you think a cold sore’s coming, or have a history of them, here are a few tips that may keep them at bay.

Spot The Triggers

The best way to treat cold sores is to prevent them from forming in the first place.  Like any illness they come with a set of triggers and making a few changes to you lifestyle can make a huge difference.

You are at you most vulnerable when you have a cold as your immune system is compromised, leaving you exposed. If you do catch a cold make sure you take the correct vitamins and supplements, especially vitamin C, to bolster your defences.

Running yourself down with lack of sleep or stress gives cold sores an opportunity to strike, battling fatigue and maintaining a regular sleeping pattern, while taking naps if needed, will help keep them away.

Lysine is an amino acid that you can find in many cold sore creams and ointments, it is however also found naturally in many foods. Creating a balanced lysine-rich diet including fish, lamb and dairy, or lysine supplements is another simple way of not giving cold sores a chance to form.

Catch Them Early

It’s impossible to prevent every attack but your best bet is to deal with the infection before it fully develops. The early symptoms include:

  • Tenderness, itching and a tingling sensation around your lips.
  • Sore throat, swollen glands and other cold and flu-like symptoms.

Between 6 to 48 hours after these symptoms are felt the cold sore will form, which will make it harder to treat. Before this happens you can apply ice to your lips hourly as cold sores, irrespective of their name, thrive in heat. Keeping the area cool can heal them before they even surface completely.

Medical Treatment

There are an abundance of over-the-counter creams, balms and salves that you can try if a cold sore does appear. Many of them will ease the pain and sensitivity; however they do not all promote healing. Some of the more popular treatments include:

  • Zovirax is a cream that should be applied five times a day which promotes healing with some reports halving the time it takes for the cold sore to vanish
  • Blistex is the only product on the market which contains docosanol, which stops the cold sore from spreading, allowing it time to heal. You may have to discuss with your pharmacist before using this product.
  • Taking Ibuprofen will reduce the swelling and redness of the sore but will do very little to heal it any faster. It can alleviate any discomfort and pain and should be taken if it hurts.

Natural Remedies

If you would prefer not to pay for expensive balms or tablets or would just prefer to try something natural, there are few remedies besides ice and lysine mentioned above that could clear up even the worst outbreak.

  • Liquorice contains Glycyrrhizic acid which has strong anti-viral properties and tastes great too.
  • Tea tree oil can clear up a cold sore in a matter of days as it is a natural astringent, making it capable of sterilising the area and stopping the infection from spreading.
  • Toothpaste is another natural remedy many cold sore sufferers swear by. Dab it on the cold sore area as soon as you feel the tell-tale tingle.
  • Light therapy in a form of an electronic cold sore machine can also be very effective. It’s a small, handheld device that claims to heal cold sores more quickly than a cream. If you regularly get cold sores throughout the winter, it may be worth the investment, and can be found in chemists like Booths and Lloyds.

Do you have any tricks to treat cold sores?

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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12th Dec 2020
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Nobody need to experience any symptoms of HERPES VIRUS and if it wasn’t for the sore on my buttocks I wouldn’t have known I had it. Once I discovered the blisters on my buttocks I went to the doctor. They scraped a sample of the blisters and had it tested. The results came back and said I had it. I started on WORLD HERBS CLINIC HERPES VIRUS (HSV1)herbal medicine treatment. I was on it for just three months,and I never thought I will recover so soon and My last test came out NEGATIVE. Please visit (ww w worldherbsclinic c om) if you are living with Herpes virus..
9th Nov 2018
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Yes I can relate to most of the above comments. I am quite lucky and don't get that many, but I always have a tube of the Zovirax in the medicine cupboard. , I always check the date and write it in my little notebook, or stick a biglabel on the box,, when its due to go in the bin.
2nd Nov 2017
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I've tried possibly most of the ointments on the market, but after a particularly bad outbreak was recommended an electronic light treatment. the best thing ever. although won't stop a pending outbreak, definitely shortens the outbreak time and helps healing.
19th Feb 2017
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I have been using honey
On my cold sore
26th Nov 2015
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I've found that coffee powder applied to the dampened area works quickly (hours), particularly when applied at the tingling stage.
26th Nov 2015
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I find Aciclovir to be a successful antiviral cream. It's the first thing that has worked for me in thirty years. Oh, and DON'T TOUCH!
4th Feb 2015
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Very strong coffee, cooled and apply to the tingling area as soon as you feel it. Do this several times during the day. I always do this, and the developing cold sore disappears. It works for me.
4th Feb 2015
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Use a high factor sun cream on and around your lips when the sun comes out, especially in the spring, as the virus can be activated by sunlight.


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