The appearance of a cold sore can be embarrassing. While there is no cure for cold sores or the virus that may cause them, there are treatments available to help reduce the pain and clear up cold sores faster.
Tips for Reducing the Pain of Cold Sores
If you have ever had a cold sore then you are probably familiar with the pain they can cause. One simple way to help reduce the pain is to avoid acidic or spicy foods, which add to or trigger pain. If you do come in contact with these foods, apply ice to the cold sore, which acts as a numbing or anti-inflammatory agent.
Over The Counter Treatments (OTC)
While most colds sores clear up within two weeks, there are over-the-counter products you can use to help accelerate the healing process, as well as reduce the pain caused by the cold sore. Some OTC products contain alcohol, which works to dry up a cold sore and promote faster healing.
The most common OTC treatment is Docosanol, commonly known as Abreva. Approved by the FDA, this cream is designed to penetrate deep into the root of a cold sore to help shorten healing time.
Prescription Cold Sore Treatments
For people with consistent cold sore outbreaks, a topical treatment may not be enough. If this is the case, a doctor may prescribe an oral medication. These can be taken at the first sign of a cold sore, such as when you begin to feel burning or itching. These medicines dont help to heal the cold sore faster, but they can help to prevent the recurrence of cold sores when taken daily.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral medication in conjunction with a topical treatment to not only help reduce outbreaks, but to add in a quicker healing process.
While there are no natural treatments for cold sores, there are alternative methods you can use to help alleviate some of the symptoms of cold sores. These include, Vitamin C, lemon balm, lysine supplements and zinc oxide cream.
Vitamin C, taken orally or in cream form, may help speed up healing, while lemon balm has been known to not only help in the healing process, but may also reduce the chance of flare-ups.
The protein in lysine supplements is thought to have viral fighting properties, which some people believe may be useful in treating cold sores. The drying effect of zinc oxide cream may help to shorten the amount of time your cold sore is present, especially when used at the first sign of an outbreak.