Do’s and Don’ts for fighting cold sores

You know the signs, that tell-tale little tingling sensation that signals you’re in for a real treat, a cold sore is on the way. Zovirax and Abreva are widely used as a first line of defence and can be successful at keeping cold sores at bay, but need to be applied at the tingling stage. Not so useful if they appear in the morning as most of mine do. When you wake at night to that itching niggling feeling do you always leap out of bed and hunt for the cold sore cream? No, you don’t, you roll over and go back to sleep and pray for a miracle.

When you wake up the next day with the beginnings of one of these little lovelies you know it’s time to take action. Once a cold sore has erupted and begun its blistery miserable life it’s no fun at all and they can be really painful, but there are lots of things you can do to shorten its life span, and to prevent them coming back.

Herstat propolis cold sore care

Buy Herstat propolis treatment


Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and once contracted can lie dormant in nerve cells for years. Triggers include being run down, getting stressed, menstrual cycle, exposure to direct sunlight and even certain foods. There is no cure for cold sores. If you’ve had one, chances are you’ll get them again, but there are loads of natural remedies and actions you can take to minimise attacks.

Here are my Do’s and Don’ts for surviving, minimising and banishing those cold sores for good!

Do’s

  • Eat food that’s rich in Lysine e.g. Dairy products, potatoes, legumes (peas, lentils, beans) meat (specifically red meat, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly parmesan), certain fish (such as cod and sardines), nuts, eggs, soyabeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soyabean flour), spirulina, and fenugreek seed and brewer’s yeast all contain lysine.
  • Take L-Lysine supplements – This amino acid supplement hinders the growth of the virus so can really aid healing and stop spreading.
  • Use a separate towel and face cloth – For the simple reason that cold sores spread so easily, if you or anyone else in the family has a cold sore, make sure everyone else knows not to use their towel to prevent contamination.
  • Use an anaesthetic ointment to numb – It will help to alleviate the pain if you have a particularly bad bout
  • Take painkillers – They will just take the edge off the pain of your cold sore.
  • Get lots of rest – One of the key triggers is being run down so make sure you get good and regular sleep. Cold sores don’t like that!
  • Take vitamin supplements – Vitamin supplements such as zinc, vitamin E, B to help heal your skin.
  • Boost your immune system – Take Echinacea or other immune boosting supplements to help knock cold sore attacks on the head
  • Keep it moisturised – Simple vaseline or petroleum jelly will do the trick, but there are loads of cold sore and chapped lip creams. Keeping your cold sore moisturised will aid healing, but make sure you always wash your hands after application
  • Get plenty of exercise – Exercise bolsters the immune system so don’t hide away. Get out there and get some fresh air; it’s a really effective way to fight off stress.
  • Try a cold pack – Ice can help dull the pain so try a cold pack or compress to numb the discomfort.
  • Learn to combat and cope with stress – Try yoga, pilates or meditation as great stress busters to keep you on an even keel.
  • Protect your lips – Make sure you wear a good sun-screen lip balm in direct sunlight as this can trigger cold sores. In winter make sure you keep lips moist, use a lip balm. If lips do become chapped or sore it can be easier for the virus to take hold. Healthy lips will be less prone as they skin is stronger and more supple.

Don’ts

  • Eat foods rich in Arginine e.g. Chocolate, Cola, beer and peanuts
  • Eat salty acidic food – Crisps, lemon and similar foods will aggravate your cold sore.
  • Kiss or perform oral sex – Cold sores are extremely easy to spread and pass on through physical contact so don’t feel tempted.
  • Touch, scratch or pick it – Physical contact with these little blighters can encourage them to spread very easily so when you do treat it, wash your hands and then avoid contact.
  • Get it wet! – Cold sore scabs can be very fragile, so avoid licking it or getting it wet if you can. Don’t go swimming and try to keep it out of the water when you shower. This is almost impossible to acheive and is very frustrating.
  • Let it get you down – Cold sores can be really painful and miserable, so take it easy and be kind to yourself. Ignore them and pretend they aren’t there!
  • Wear make-up Avoid using lipstick as you could contaminate it with the virus.
  • Keep your toothbrush in the bathroom – Moisture prolongs the life of the cold sore virus to make sure you dry it out, keep it in the bedroom instead so any virus cells won’t survive and spread back onto your lips before it’s fully healed.

Herstat propolis cold sore care

Herstat propolis cold sore care


It’s good to see far more Do’s than Don’ts here, and as if that’s not enough for you to be going on with, here are some other natural remedies that I’ve gleaned from friends, family and fellow cold sore sufferers.

  • Zovirax – Available in most chemists this is the first line of defence when you feel tingling. It contains aciclovir which helps prevent the cold sore taking hold. Boots, Lloyds and other pharmacies often do their own brand which is much cheaper than Zovirax. Careful when you open these little tubes as you can end up with the half the contents spewing out when you only want a tiny bit. Abreva is also widely used to treat cold sores.
  • Propolis – Use a propolis based cold sore remedy such as Herstat, regular users report much faster healing and a reduction in pain. It tastes almost good enough to eat too.
  • Toothpaste – Dab some directly onto the cold sore. It dries them out!
  • Witch Hazel – Using cotton wool dab some onto the cold sore. Witch Hazel has natural healing qualities.
  • Corsodyl gel – Also available at the chemists. Not tried this one out yet.
  • Whisky – I didn’t discover whether this remedy involved application to the cold sore or drinking, or perhaps both. I’ll leave that up to you…
  • Colloidal Silver – Can also be dabbed onto the cold sore to aid healing. You can get this in most health food shops in liquid form and you can keep it in the fridge.
  • Eue de toillete – The alcohol dries up the cold sore but also stings!
  • Licorice – Make sure it’s real licorice and not flavoured.
  • Milk – Soak cotton wool in milk and dab onto the cold sore

Cold sores can also be triggered by food allergies so if you do keep getting recurrent cold sores start a food and symptoms diary and try to pin point what foods are causing it.

What are your cold sore remedies? What works for you to banish these little horrors? I usually give mine a name like Colin or Clary – bring in a bit of humour. Let em know I’m not bovvered. It usually does the trick!

Buy cold sore treatments online

If you want to see what LLysine looks like or check the names of cold sore treatments mentioned here, and even buy them online, visit the Buy Allergy Stuff page for some ideas.

Other cold sore blogs

There are about ten blogs here about cold sores. To see them all visit What allergy blogs about cold sores

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.

Comments

  1. Jasmine says:

    Okay so I’ve had cold sores my whole life. I’m sixteen now. Ive been lucky the past two or so years and haven’t seen any on me. But the other day at work, I felt it. The miserable tingling in the corner of my mouth. I thought I was going to die. When I got home I put my special medicated chap stick on and that actually helped. The next day it was dried out and just scabed. But that night at work, I felt it again. And this time I thought nothing of it thinking I could just do the same thing when I got home. That was my mistake. When I got hone my whole bottom lip was swollen out of control and I had a huge nasty bugger in the very middle surrounded by little ones. I’ve tired the chap stick, ice, and I even pop and drained them and washed it. The problem is that it seems to have gotten bigger. I didn’t know not to eat peanuts and chocolate. You can guess what I’ve been eating to make me feel better… Now that I’ve read this I’m worried. Is there anything else to do?

    • Zap it with neat tea tree, propolis ointment if you can get some, take some Llysine capsules, echinacea. Early night. Once you have a blister it is hard to get rid of them. I find holding a dry tea bag on the sore helps. Rooibosh or earl grey if you have it. if not any will do. It kind of drys it out quicker. You will feel weird holding a tea bag on your lip but it works for me, just remember to chuck out after – don’t make tea with it!

    • I use vicks vapor rub! Its dries them out and numbs the pain.

      • I like that idea Brittany. Thanks for sharing. How long does it take for a cold sore to die with Vicks Vapo rub?

        • Note this is for after it has already broken out, not to stop it from happening. It usually take a around two days for mine to be cleared up and gone of the pain completely. I’ve found it to be a lifesaver when helping with the pain. And works a lot sooner than abreva or any other cold sore treatments!

          • Thanks Brittany. I’m trying this since the blister is coming as I type. These things are nothing but the devil. I am always so embarrassed because I think everyone is looking at it.

          • Evil little horrors aren’t they. my lip is tingling right now so am putting on Herstat propolis lip balm on the hour. Fingers crossed it will crawl back where it came from. Good luck with yours.

    • Stay away from Chocolate and peanuts and drink milk, eat cheese, and any other dairy products…it does wonders

    • If you take a daily dose of L-Lysine (500-1000mg) the virus stays in remission.

    • DaAdorableOne says:

      Chapstick is always a mistake for me, it causes cold sores. Anything with petroleum jelly on my face causes one.

  2. I dab a drop of tea tree oil on the itchy sport every few hours and usually it won’t even surface. :)

  3. cold sore on corner of mouth says:

    Thanks for sharing informative article about cold sores, I wonder if cucumber is effective home remedy for this matter, because some of my friends told me it’s effective.

    • I suffer with cold sore always have to the point i get one after the other at times when im stressed out or run down. I use zovirex but hasnt worked this time. The blister has gone but is now scabby n red it keeps cracking and bleeding and its making me feel uncomfortable. I dont know if im to keep it moist to stop the cracking or let it dry out but then it cracks n bleeds.

  4. I just wanted to comment, on your list of Do’s you have petroleum jelly listed for keeping it moist. I don’t know about anyone else but for me petroleum jelly causes cold sores. I don’t mean it makes them worse or spreads them, but I can be free from sores for months and something with petroleum jelly touches my skin and “bam” I get a sore the next day. I actually experimented with this cause I wasn’t sure what was causing it and I finally figured it out.

    If there are any out there like me you might want to put a sub-note or something in, just in case.

    • WOW, yes anything could trigger a cold sore. It could be that the petroleum jelly is contaminated? Just a thought, but I know certain foods and drinking alcohol can trigger them for me so anything is possible. Anyone else get cold sores triggered by petroleum jelly? When you think about it’s not a very nice product – you wouldn’t put petrol on your lips would you? urgh no. So why do we even use petroleum jelly which is made from a waste by product from industry? Gross!

      • My lips are the same! You are not alone! I haven’t touched petroleum jelly in about 10 yeaRd (I’m 20) I figured this out when I was about 8. Thought it was a freak thing. And since I never used it much I didn’t think too much about it. But then when I was ten I was having a spell of dry lips after dry lips and my go to petroleum jelly. Well thats when I noticed and never used it since. Now what I do (I usually get it once a year around fall/winter time) I pop all the bubbles and then clean with rubbing alcohol. Probaby not smart but it works for me. Dries it out immediately and will then heal within a couple days by applying rubbing alcohol with a swab a couple times a day.

        • I haven’t used petroleum jelly on my lips in over 20 years. My wife gave me a tiny container of it this week because my lips were chapped, so I applied some before I went to bed. The next day I had a fever blister on my bottom lip. I applied Zovirax several times that day and, since my lips were still a bit chapped, I again used petroleum jelly on the areas of my lips not being treated before going to bed. I woke up this morning with yet another cold sore, this one on my upper lip! I am 50 years old and have suffered with cold sores for my entire life and this is the first time I’ve ever had both lips affected at the same time. I am convinced that the petroleum jelly had something to do with the breakout. My curiosity about it brought me to this website.

          • Hi Murray, it does sound suspiciously like it could be that petroleum jelly causing the problem. I wonder why we put petroleum on our skin, does it come from petrol? Doesn’t sound nice when you think of it like that. Some things definitely cause one for me, usually foods, but it is entirely possible that this gel caused yours. Only way to really know is risk another outbreak. I would recommend herstat propolis oitment or purepotions tea tree balm.

          • Stay away from any type of chocolate cookies, candies, cocoa, etc) and anything containing peanuts. Make sure you drink milk and eat dairy products every day.

      • According to the FDA one of the cures fofrom cancer is derived from petroleum… chemotherapy. Imagine running that through your bloodstream.

    • Also, she says to moisturize, but also to dry it out–which is it?

      • What ‘she’ ie ME means is, that the sore needs to dry out, once it reaches crusty stage is when it is on its way out. However they can be very painful. Whilst you should avoid getting the sore wet when you shower, bathe etc. and try not to lick as this softens the sore and can make the scab come off, they are very fragile. However I find that the various cold sore healing ointments etc. can be very soothing and healing. So aloe vera for instance will help it heal. I also have an llysine ointment and use Herstat propolis ointment to soothe, heal and help prevent further infection etc. So yes, don’t go swimming and try to keep it dry BUT make use of all the products out there to help heal it. Keeping lips moisturised and healthy can also reduce the number of cold sores you get and spreading. Dry chapped lips are far more at risk of infections. Make sense?

        • Thanks for the clarification. My sore is now in the puss-ing phase, leaking a yellow fluid. It is yet to scab over. Should I continue applying Aciclovir cream in this stage, or do I dry it out? I wonder if I’m delaying the scabbing phase by applying this cream.

          Once the scabbing begins, what do I do? When do I stop applying Aciclovir?

          • I’m in the same boat as you. I use campho phoenique (sp?) for the numbing effect… whole upper lip is swollen (right on Thanksgiving Day… great).. but i wonder the same thing about it making it worse. I do know it does make it dry out.. but i just want it to stop swelling.. I’m going to try a teabag next.

          • Hold a dry teabag on if it’s really swollen for as long as you can. Aloe vera, neat tea tree, propolis… whack that cold sore baby. If it’s thanksgiving try some whisky on it and drink some too! #coldsoressuck

          • Acyclovir is only useful when the virus is still growing – best to take the pill/ointment right when you feel the tingle and in the first day as it is getting bigger, if it does. It is of no use afterwards, especially when you are scabbing. This drug is designed to stop viral growth, but it cannot kill viruses already present. So once you have the cold sore already, you just have to tough it out and use other stuff, don’t bother with such drugs. Good luck!

          • Yeah I think you’re right about the acicolovir Jayy, problem is, mine seem to appear in the night so when I wake it’t too late for any zorirax of acyclovir. The cold sore has already taken root!

  5. annonymous says:

    Usually when I catch them are in the blister stage…. I sterilize a pin or something with a sharp point pop them clean the clear goo then apply Abreva they usually dry up in 7 to 8 hours then scab of if more blisters acure I pop immediately and they usually go away with in a day or 2

    • Sounds like a successful treatment. I just use propolis from Herstat at the first sign of tingling and now they don’t even appear. If I miss the tingling and do get one I use a combination of neat tea tree oil and propolis to soothe and heal and they usually miraculously never actually grow into proper nasty cold sores. A few days and only a slight blemish or red area to show. I also use Aloe vera if I ever do get a scab as it forms a seal over the sore and helps heal.

  6. I’m now 18 and I’ve had cold sores since elementary school. Over the past few years I’ve developed a way that works EXTREMELY well for me, and I can usually make my cold sores disappear in a day or two.
    1.) Immediately after you feel a cold sore coming along (a small pain in your lip, a little bump, an itch on your lip) put a cold sore ointment on the spot (I use Abreva)–whether or not it truly is a cold sore, this is prevention from a cold sore, or prevention from having the cold sore get really big!
    2.) If the cold sore gets bigger, and is now filled with liquid–I know this sounds scary, but trust me it works–get a sewing needle, clean it with alcohol, clean your cold sore with alcohol and wash your hands. Pop the cold sore. Don’t put the needle directly into it, rather pop it by putting the needle through the first layer of skin parallel to your face, not sticking it straight in. **tighten your lips together so the liquid comes out** clean cold sore with alcohol again.
    3.) After popping the cold sore the rest of the care is VERY IMPORTANT. Immediately put Neosporin on the popped cold sore. If it feels painful, hold an ice cube to the cold sore for a while, then put Neosporin on it. Continue to apply Neosporin to the cold sore for the rest of the day after you popped it. Apply cold sore ointment (I use Abreva) to the area once or twice a day, as well as the Neosporin throughout the day. Another great combination to apply to the popped cold sore is a combination of Vaseline and a few drops of tea tree oil mixed together. This helps to heal the cold sore faster! Apply Neosporin and the tea tree oil mixture throughout the day to ensure fastest healing time!

    The morning after you popped the cold sore, there should no longer be any liquid (cold sore virus) inside the bump, but your lip may still feel sore and will be slightly raised and still slightly red. THIS IS NORMAL! It should continue to lessen in swelling, redness and pain.

    When you don’t have cold sores, I suggest regularly using CARMEX lip Vaseline for Cold Sores, as a preventative procedure.

    I know that popping the cold sore sounds scary!! As long as you clean the site of the cold sore and your needle is clean and new–you will be fine. I’ve been doing this process to my cold sores for almost five years now (Tea Tree Oil being the most recent addition, and it works very well). My cold sores are almost always gone within two days of the FIRST feeling of one coming.

    Let me know if this works for you! Hope it helps.

    • Great advice from a fellow cold sore expert here. I find often that they get ‘broken’ anyway, especially once they’ve blistered. I have never actually got a needle and popped one before so if I get another I think I’ll try it just in the interest of science. Ha Ha. I did this with trying crushed garlic on a cold sore once – be warned – this is s horrible thing to do, I had the MOST horrendous cold sore after trying that.

      • Eimear mcdermott says:

        Ruth I’m ensure if I’m even posting in the right place or how I do this. I’m in the tingling phase of getting my first ever coldsore and I don’t no what to do. It’s Easter Sunday in Ireland here meaning every shop and chemist are pretty much closed so I need home remedies and fast. I’m hoping for a miracle that can chase it away without a big outbreak if it’s possible. I don’t have any of those gels or ointments and have no place to buy them today..! Help please guys..! ????

        • If you have some honey in the house you could try that.. Normally once the tingling starts though it’s often too late but the honey may help to minimize it and speed up healing. Once it blisters you may want to try some rubbing alcohol to dry it out but it will sting.

    • I get prescribed 500 mg of Valtrex thru my doctor. I try to take it immediately after feeling “the tingle” and it won’t even surface. If you aren’t able to take it immediately and, it has already surfaced it will still drastically shorten the duration. If you have health insurance that’s great. If you’re paying out of pocket it can get a little pricey. However, you can mark my words when I say it’s worth every penny and saves from lots of embarrassment!

  7. Cinnamon68 says:

    I have one now and its on my upper lip on my left side and a small one that happen on my lower lip left side not usually the norm for me to get 2 but its a small one and all this COLD SORE CRAP happen after I went to the Orthodontist so for all you braces wearers or if you just go to the Dentist be careful they don’t manipulate your mouth to much this can cause to much stress on the lips and a recipe for a COLD SORE as I live and breath!!

    So I have 50% Super Strength PROPOLIS this is very sticky and it stains so it seem like it would have work minus the hard work to get the brown goop off my lips and this only caused me to bleed and burst. I am trying to investigate if it would be just better to ingest it by drinking it through HOT TEA it need something hot to stop it from coagulating. I also have been using 100% organic RAW HONEY and this I think works and yes it is sticky but not to the point where its crazy as long as you apply a thin layer and more at night is fine. And its natural it goes on like any other ointment would and it protects it. I’ve also used Super LYSINE + and this has PROPOLIS in it as well it works good to. Its a green and white tube you can find it at “Vitamin World” store or your local drugstore or health & vitamin food stores.

    The brand of honey I use is YS Organic Bee Farms RAW HONEY its in a 16 oz jar and it about $6-$7 bucks, just use a cotton swab to apply. You can use any other brand you like as long as its RAW thick honey in a jar not the liquid stuff. I also use Zovirax ointment and I take ACYCLOVIR in pill form 3-4 times daily and well I got this on Tuesday morning and I still have them. I get them pretty big and ugly well the one on my upper lip is the one on my lower not so much but it still noticeable.

    My son who swears by his method and he used to get them a lot more when he was younger he keeps it dry and uses tissue constantly on it holding there as much as you can of course and his goes away pretty quickly now they used to not for him, but I tried this it didn’t work really for me where it went away in 2 days.

    For those of you who’s go away in 2 days God Bless its not much of a cold sore if it goes away that quick not much to get upset about that’s for sure. I really wish this would work for me I would be pissed to have it but happy in 2 days. Right now I feel like crying!!

    I’ve also heard that brands like Herstat online not sure at store, Cold Sore FX online not sure at store, Compeed Bandages (order online) and Quantum Health Lip Clear Invisible Cold Sore Bandage your local drugstore like Walgreens.

    • Great to hear what works for you. I swear by Llysine, tea tree and propolis too. Miracle stuff. Not had a cold sore since using herstat propolis cold sore ointment.

    • Cold Sore FX you can get at Walmart in Canada and London Drugs in Western Canada. It appears to be the same thing as Herstat. I’m going to try it next time!

      You can buy propolis that is water based but it will have less propolis in it than ones with alcohol in them. (20% compared to 50%). It’s not sticky like regular propolis so won’t be hard to get off your sore and it doesn’t stain. I got mine at http://www.bee-pollen-buzz.com/ I have some now and I’m going to apply it to my sore!

    • Cinnamon – I bet your orthodontist’s cleaning equipment had some cold sore virus on it and you were infected when they worked on your mouth.. Not from the stress.

      • Problem is you can never ever prove where you caught them, but once you got them you’ve got the virus for life which sucks. But if you learn what triggers your outbreaks and find a solution to help prevent them you can almost get rid of them. I take Llysine and always apply Herstat propolis salve and also tea tree to heal and help dry out if one does advance too far before you realise. Aloe vera to cool and create a protective layer to aid healing. And get plenty of sleep.

  8. LucySimpson says:

    I have always suffered from cold sores, i am 16 now. I cant stand them and they make me so grumpy and often makes me ill too. I have an immense fear of touching them though, i don’t even let them get wet in the shower. I am just so afraid of the pain. So the thought of popping them makes me want to cry. same goes for creams. I never use creams and instead i use an amazing device called virulite. it is a machine that you put on the cold sore and it uses ultra violet light to heal them super quick. it tends to work quite well, especially if you get it at the tingling stage. They dont work as well as some of these methods but they certainly speed up the healing time and they make them less frequent, so if you are like me and cant stand the thought of applying stuff to it then get this! its amazing.

  9. New to Cold Sores says:

    Hello . I am relatively new to cold sores . Just had an oubreak about a week ago but still haven’t gone away . I’m pretty sure it’s cold sores as I felt all the symptoms like the tingling around my upper lips and a few days later , a bump appear on my upper lips . This is scaring me out cause , I am not sure if my life would still be the same . Haha . Anyway , I have a few questions bugging my mind but all the other websites doesn’t help much even the doctor chat whatever thing . So , here goes :

    1) If after a few days , the blisters go away , how will I know the virus is no longer active ?

    2) Can i ever kiss anyone or perform oral sex if I am not suffering any blistering ?

    3) How would I know that essential oils are pure ?

    4) Do the mixture of lemon balm essential oil + lavender essential oil + olive carrier oil help with the blisters ?

    Thank you very much . Oh , and I’m from Malaysia and it seems that the treatment for herpes are not very wide here and that is making me much more struggling to cope . I’m 18 btw and I am in need of your help . Please .

    • 1. Give it at least a week after the blister COMPLETELY dissappears.
      2. As long as u don’t have a break out u can do what you want. Kinda rude to think ur sex life is over because of this. I’m 20 years old. Never had a problem with being with a guy because of it. People have it oh well. Most people like me have had it their whoLe life. Just born with it.
      3. Shouls say right on the bottle. And if ur not sure use something like propolis or abreva.
      4. Never done it myself so I don’t know. But I have a feeling anything lemon wouldn’t be too good.

      • Be careful giving someone oral sex when you have a blister because you will cause a blister on their genitals! I wouldn’t do oral sex until they’re completely healed! At least 2 weeks!

        • I completely agree! Very good advice. I would always wait until they’ve completely gone too. They don’t always appear at the best of times thought do they?

        • Well duh of course not lol. That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t realize. I explained it to my friends b4 and they had no idea and didn’t believe me. Cold sores ARE herpes type 1. It’s an STD. People do not get that! U kiss someone with it you risk giving them herpes type 1. And with oral sex u risk giving them herpes type 2. Which is way worse. It’s genital herpes! Breakouts are worse and it’s gross lol u risk them from limit in their sex lilives Bc no othe person would want genital herpes. No one wants cold sores either. But those are much easier to control

  10. Been suffering cold sores since I was a teen . sharing a smoke when my friend had one. Next day guess what happen next day. Cold sore. .I have tried many things. Abreva. Never work for me. Made it worst. . Finally I found something. Wish I knew this b4. I only used Lysine. This does work. When u feel that tingling feel. Get the pills. Take 500 mg every four hours. . Today I had this tingling feel. So I start my diet. No chocolate. No salt. No peanuts. No red pasta. Only chicken red meat ice cream veg fruit.. I am confident that it will not appear. Lysine always my savior
    .

  11. My problem is I have 2 in the corner of my mouth on the letter side so when they scab over when my mouth is closed when I open my mouth all the way it rips off the scab bad streachs out the wound. Also when you have a cold sore dont drink citrus drinks. The burn your mouth.

  12. hey everyone, this is actually such a good post thankyou so much has really helped since i woke up the other night with the tingling but u dudnt have a coldsore cream with me. Im 15 and ive been getting them since i can remember and i hate them so much! i actually go the chemist and i found these zivorax brand cold sore patches! the cream is good for the tingling stage but once youve got it you tend to want to itch scratch and pop! but that usually ends in spreasing it and causing it to grow! these little patches you place over the top of the coldsore theyre pretty much unvisible and no one will tell your wearing one! they make it so your coldsore isnt contagious and you can still go out and about. ive been using them for a year now and they really help to stop the coldsore. when i woke up monday morning i had one and didnt get anything for it till the afternoon since i had school and now this morning i woke up with another one growing beside it. i have 2 patches on and they seem to be working fine! hope this helps someone!

    • I’ve never used the patches because I thought it would be quite visible but I like the idea. I smooth on a layer of 99% aloe vera gel too when I get one, I think this works in a similar way, it dries into a layer which protects the sore, helps it heal AND stops it spreading. Thanks for sharing. Is the brand you use Compede?

  13. Faranak Joecar says:

    hemoform serum fighting for cold sores trust me it’s really work awesome i am also using that serum for 1week really i got amazing result now my cold sores complete gone from my upper lips

  14. I come up with a coldsore lastnight, didn’t really start to tingle till I spotted it in the mirror. And then it stated to hurt. Normally I get coldsores really bad and they don’t go for weeks! But I poped It & put dettol onit & perfume. &toothpaste. Normally I just leave them. And don’t put anything on them, just let nature take its cause! But I’ve got to go out on saturday with the husband. Really hope this goes down as I couldn’t bare people staring at me:(!!!!

    • I got one Thursday night, woke up Friday morning with two corkers, one on top lip and one on the bottom lip. Hoping they are gone by Wed, first xmas do. Giving them tea tree, aloe vera, llysine, propolis, everything I’ve got. Good luck getting rid of yours. This is the first one I’ve had in months and months.

  15. I would recommend getting a prescription from your Dermatoligst for Valacyclovir (Valtrex) and a topical cream like Mucirpron. Don’t mess around with home remedies like tea oil and toothpaste, those will only cause scarring and prolong the misery

    • I haven’t heard of Valtrex, I will ask my doctor, but he has previously told me there isn’t anything that can be prescribed for cold sores, but then that is his stock answer to most things. I have found that by taking Llysine and using tea tree oil and propolis I hardly get any more cold sores now, except when I get really run down and wake up with one.

  16. Hi, I’m 16 years old and I’ve only ever had 3 cold sores. The first two look so much different then the one I have now. The first two were so big it looked liked I got punched in the mouth. It looked like one big one. I would only ever use ice to help it. The one I have now is not that big. But it made up of these little yellow bumps. I have no idea what I should do to get rid of them. Do I pop them? Do I use a tea bag? Should I be worried about the small yellow bumps?

    • Can you visit your doctor if you’re not sure what the blisters are? If they are definitely cold sores, I use neat tea tree oil and propolis ointment. I also take llysine and echinacea. A tea bag can really help dry out the blisters, just hold the tea bag over the sore for as long as you can and throw it out afterwards… Hope it goes away soon.

  17. I took Lysine for a bit before I went on a trip to Mexico as I was scared I’d break out in cold sores from the sun. It didn’t help! I got a bad one!

  18. I’ve had cold sores my entire adult life. I get them on my upper lip. Usually triggered by shaving or trimming my mustache with anything other than totally clean, sterile razors and mini scissors. (too much direct sunlight can kick one off too). I use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect my scissors now. Took forever to learn this. However if you do get an outbreak there is one trick I’ve learned that absolutely works. Hydrocortisone cream 1%. Five dollars at a drug store. Apply it immediately at first sign of irritation or blister, and keep applying every hour…all day every day tip it goes away. It will be gone in three days. The key to this working is DONT GET IT WET. Don’t wash your face or rinse hair in shower (wear hats or caps for a few days to if needed). If you get it wet the blister will form a bloody scab, and you can add another three, four or even five days before that fades. Simple formula: HC cream…and don’t get it wet. Carry the HC around with you and apply it constantly. Throughout the day. Trust me this works.

    I’ve heard others say not to do this. Bullshit. I’ve even heard some doctors say not to do this. Bullshit. It works so much better than ANY other remedy, especially all those “Abreva” type ointments that cost $20 or more. Even camphor. Not only do they cost a lot more, nothing works as well as simple HC cream.

    Don’t believe me? Read the ingredients to the most expensive yet effective prescription anti-viral med on the market: Xerese. It is a combination of acyclovir and…you guessed it, hydrocortisone. Yet you don’t need the anti-viral part to get effective relief. I Promise Promise Promise HC 1% will knock your blister out so fast it will change your life.

    You’re welcome.
    P.S. Don’t get it wet.

    • Hi Dave, interesting tip, I’m not sure of the long term effects of using HC consistently on your skin…I only resort to HC in any cream as a last resort.

    • I’d be very cautious using any steroid creams on the face. I was treating eczema on my elbows and started using the cream on my chin when a patch seemed to appear (this was approved by my doctor). I then developed perioral dermatitis covering the skin from my mouth to chin, it pretty much ruined my life for 4 months until I finally stopped listening to my doctor and begged for an antibiotic cream.

      Sorry to go so off topic, this won’t happen to the majority of people but it was such a horrible experience that I won’t ever touch steroid creams again for anything, and I just want to provide a bit of warning for what could possibly happen using this stuff on your face.

  19. Bridgett Hendricks says:

    It says it can take up to a week but I always stop using HemoForm after just two days! Few things in life work so well yet also so easy to lose. I love it! I will definitely buy it again! Because I lost it… again.

  20. Interesting site. A note of caution about using Llysine. I too believe it is somewhat effective. I started taking it as a routine supplement to try to prevent the cold sores. However, I had a routine blood test one day that showed my liver enzymes out of whack that caused my doctor great concern. I underwent a bunch tests for hepatitis, other liver disease, cancer, etc. and nothing seemed wrong. So after revisiting the mystery and going over habits, what I ate, the supplements. I stopped taking the Llysine and after a couple weeks everything was normal , and normal since. The Doctor was surprised but confirmed through literature research the connection. Obviously I was told, don’t take the supplements. Sorry I don’t recall the dose, it was not large. Probably OK on breakouts but routine supplements might not be good idea.

  21. Nuts belong is the Don’t section! Nuts and seeds have a lot of arginine and will make a coldsore much worse. If you are trying to avoid a coldsore, do not eat nuts. Walnuts and Brazil nuts have the highest amount.

  22. This is probably not safe at all but i found the best thing to kill the little monsters is nail polish remover with acetone in it, yes you read correctly, acetone. Sounds painful and it is! BUT it kills it, i’ve had coldsores come and go in ONE day with this method.

    Is it the best idea….probably not but we’ve all been there when we have a huge presentation or an important meeting the next day and a cold sore decides to jump out and say hello. so if you’re really desperate hit up this method. be warned tho it burns like holly hell!

  23. I have suffered from cold sores on and off ever since I was a child. I agree they seem to come on when stressed and lack of sleep. I have found that most of the common ointments and creams only keep my cold sore moist and help it get even bigger so now I just take L-lysine supplements and leave it alone. Will have to try the alcohol or tea tree oil though and see if that helps. I have also noted that when I drool in my sleep, which is very rare, anywhere my salvia has touched is where the cold sores pop up. Weird. Anyone else had this happen?

  24. The first time I remember getting a cold sore was when I was 15. I never knew what to do about them because they only happened like 1 time per year but this year is different. I’ve had 3 cold sores in the past 3 months and I’m starting to think that it is strictly related to the winter season because every cold sore i remember having was during this time of the year. I don’t know if it’s a combination of stress and the winter that has caused me to have multiple breakouts with in 3 months but the most recent one I had I held ice to it for about an hour and it really reduced the size of it to where it looks like just a pimple. I know that it sucks because you feel really self conscious and wish you could just disappear till it goes away that way no one else would see but as I do more research I am slowly figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I am 18 now and I feel like maybe just work, stress, school, and the winter season are starting to have a hard effect on how often I get these sores.

  25. virginia says:

    I’m having my first cold sore and it’s honestly the worst thing ever. It’s been five days and my lip is still completely disfigured but the blister (??) Is a huge yellow pustule above my lip. I am in so much pain, I have to keep taking aspirin and Tylenol. I’m also applying pain killing topical healing ointment.

    Will all of this yellow pus come out on its own? Even though it’s not on my lip, is that why my lip is so big, or do I have another cold sore that I can’t see? I’m afraid to pop it because I thought it was a zit at first and I tried to pop it early on and I made it a million times more painful. My entire face hurts and I have no idea if that’s normal. I am told that your first cold sore is your worst and I’m 23. I stupidly used my boyfriend’s toothbrush.

  26. Forget all these tips, I got InterceptCS a while ago and it totally prevents my cold sores from ever happening. http://www.interceptcoldsore.com is their new site if you wanna get a real cure.

  27. So frustrated.. It started about five or six weeks ago. I got a cold sore right above my upper lip on the right side. It spread about one centimetre beside it so then I had two. About a week later I got number 3 on my lower lip but this time the left side. Then I caught a nasty cold two weeks later and got one on on my right nostril. That one hurts like hell. Just today less then 1 week later I might add I got yet another one on the top right corner of my lip. I was at work so I didn’t have my Lysine with me. By the time I got home it was already too late and it had already blistered. What is going on? I usually get two or three a year but 5 in the last 5-6 weeks! Has anyone else had this type of misfortune?

  28. Annie Marie says:

    Thank you, very informative, I have a question – has anyone tried shungite water? One of my friends advised me to try it, in his case it helped. If anybody faced this situation and tried it please advise.

  29. Nuts need to be removed from the Do’s section

  30. A lot of good tips but I’ve just woken up with 2 cold sores on my top lip, one either side and one is starting to spread. I’ve put some cold sore cream on but I think it’s made it worse. I wouldn’t be too bothered normally because these things happen but I’ve got a first date Thursday and I would prefer not to have these ugly things on my lips. Does anyone know if there’s a faster way to get rid of them in 2 days?

  31. Suffered from these all my adult life…has taken me a while to get the handle of them and to help minimize them

    Been taking over the counter L-Lysine tabs (Sona brand) daily for the last few years, they certainly help reduce them appearing and to fight them off when they appear. Usually take one a day but when I feel one coming I up to 2/day and continue 2/day until its well cleared.

    If it gets to a stage of blistering, then this is what I have been doing.
    Some table salt in a cup of boiled water, let it cool and dab the area 3-4 times per day with the salty water using a cotton bud. It really helps to dry it out. You need to make sure you don’t over do it on this as the salted water can dry out the sore to the point where it starts to crack & bleed.

    For the tingling effect, I use Viralief instead of Zovirax as a cheaper alternative and just as effective. I agree with many people that petroleum jelly was more causing them than preventing. So I use Vaseline Cocoa butter instead…just wish I had it with me last Monday when the sun came out and caught me off guard. But I find it great even when it tingles, the cocoa butter helps to fight it off before it erupts if you dont have any Zovirax or equivalent to hand. Plus its not as obvious as the white cream.
    Hope this helps

    • Just to follow up, when I woke this morning into Day 2, the cold sore was still there and swollen. After reading some comments, I applied a tea bag for 5 mins and an ice cube wrapped in kitchen towel for 5 min. Swelling certainly reduced in less than 30 min and as we all know, once the swelling comes down we start to feel better in ourselves and this can reduce the stress levels

  32. I have tried shungite water, I noticed the effect. However I suppose that it is still an additional remedy which need to be combined with common treatment of a disease. There is some information about it here: http://shungit-store.com/shungite-new.html

  33. Jessica says:

    I’ve found and I know they say not to do this but rubbing alcohol and salt. When u feel the tingle take a cotton ball spray with alcohol put salt on it and rub the spot.. I also take about 2500 of lysine twice a day.. If u see the blister have a cotton ball with alcohol on it ready and take a pin and pop it and immediately dab with cotton. Then pour alcohol with salt into something use a q tip to make a salt and alcohol ball and dab it on your lip leave it on as long as you can. It stops the blister dead in its track. And begins to go away. Mine last about 4 days but never scab or get worse. I also use lysine lip balm !! I also wipe my face daily around the area that I get them with salt and alcohol it has helped with somewhat preventing them from coming back as often

  34. So I’ve seen a new product, herpatch, and wondering if it’s worth getting? I’m a chronic sufferer, at least once a month for the past 20 years ( Boo hoo ) and they have a prevention lip balm. Would be great if it could help.

    • I just looked up Herpatch on the internet, and it’s a new one for me. Never heard of it before. It might work, but what I find most useful is Herstat Propolis ointment, which is incredible. I usually don’t get them any more using this stuff. There is an advert on this blog post I think to link to buy some. Good luck.

  35. I use a combination of L-Lysine hte 1000 Mg version . I take two a day. I also use vapor rub combines with toothpaste on the wound. Within to to three days, the sores are almost gone and dried up. The secret is like everyone says, catch that thing before it gets started. Drinking green tea helps as well. Even after it has formed into a big blister.

    • 2-3 days aint bad for a life span of a cold sore. I use Lysine too but don’t find toothpaste worked for me. I use a combination of TeaTree if there is a blister to heal and aloe vera to create a seal over the top and also aid healing. At tingle stage I use Herstat propolis ointment which almost always prevents them even growing. Amazing stuff. Try it! There is a link on this blog to get some. Keep fighting those blisters.

  36. Rashid Ishaq says:

    I got severe blisters since I just had fever; this time they looks horrible but I am using Mycitracin Cream; it greatly helps as a pain killer; I don’t know if it will help me to remove the blisters but as long as cream is on lips I don’t feel blisters’ itch

  37. I currently have a cold sore on the left corner of my bottom lip. My question is that I looked on Abriva’s website and it shows the life cycle in days of a cold sore. My lip started to tingle late Tuesday night. When I woke up the next day, it sure enough was there. However, it grew the blister, popped, leaked, and shrank all in the course of Wednesday. Then Thursday morning I woke up and it was scabbed over. On Abreva’s site it says that this usually takes about 5 days to go through this cycle. But mine took the entire day of Wednesday to go through this. Is this just due fast healing? I put Herpecin L on religiously. Along with some aloe vera gel just once. I am asking this because I have had cold sores when I was younger. Haven’t had one since middle school and am 22 now. However, I don’t remember them healing this quickly. They used to take almost 2 weeks to heal. Did I just get lucky this time? Just wanted to know everyone’s thoughts and comments.

  38. Dimea Patro says:

    People I was saddened to read the ‘genital’ comments on here. Oral ‘sex’ should always be avoided it is unhealthy and unsanitary and serves no purpose other then silly hedonism. I caught my cold sore after being intimate with a person of the opposite sex (not my spouse), which I really regret. Abusing our sexuality has consequences.

  39. Never had a cold sore develop to the blister stage since I discovered ice! A simple ice cube applied as long as you can stand never fails.
    Also: I have a theory that blowing your nose with kitchen roll (paper kitchen towel) caused cold sore. Not sure of the science, but seems too much of a coincidence somehow.

  40. never, ever, ever pop it!

  41. I agree – only a mad man would pop a cold sore. If you pop it could spread the virus so best to leave to heal. HOwever I have heard that some people pop theirs and swear it heals quicker… who knows. I guess we are all different. I don’t pop mine.

  42. I always do. Stops the sucker in it’s track.

  43. Hi Ruth

    Do you know if I should still treat the cold sore during starting to scab phase with OTC cream?
    Thank you in advance for any suggestionss

  44. If you pop them just when they are tiny little bumps then never get to the big blister phase. It may cause them to spread but tiny bumps make for much smaller sores versus the huge blisters that you can get when you don’t pop them. Plus they can spread with out being popped, as a kid I would literally have my entire mouth covered in sores.

  45. Add running alcohol right after. It stops the sucker I’m telling you!

  46. I always pop them and it definitely helps them heal more quickly. Just make sure you squeeze out the liquid, dab with a tissue, then apply cream (Abreva works great!)

  47. YES treat it. I find Propolis really stops pain and aids healing. I used Herstat. Anything though like tea tree, aloe vera etc. that is healing will help. I think so anyway.

  48. hi thanks Ruth!
    I had to take four days off during the worst blister stage
    Tried lysine pill, vitamin B, lysine cream, abreva (put in on day 1 right after work) Found the lysine cream helped better
    Took one week to get better. Day ten now it’s a red spot and hope to look better next week
    Mine was due to stress and lack of sleep (overwork) :(
    Felt ugly and embrassed at work

  49. I have never actively popped one, ever, but I do get them elsewhere on my body, the same virus. Sometimes on my legs, torso or arms. Because I have eczema sometimes I do scratch them, by mistake, which is horrible because they hurt. But sometimes if the blister is destroyed early on by my scratching, and I then put on tea tree oil or whatever to heal it they never get that big. So I’m bursting them but not on purpose. Just had a nasty crop on the back of my neck which has taken AGES to go away. Blumin things. Generally the tea tree and propolis keep cold sores away for me, but if I wake up with one it’s annoying – once they’re established you have to just keep attacking with whatever you can and as often to reduce their life.

  50. Aspen Mooring says:

    what if I had a cold sore scab But It started to peel off and it bleeded but i washed it completley with a clean towel and stopped the bleeding now it just looks kind of redish color Should i put neosporin on it or abreva still or will another scab form over or ?

  51. It will scab again but cold sores are notoriously fragile so it might get knocked again. I put a layer of 99% aloe vera gel on mine when they are at this stage. means it’s healing if it bleeds. they can bleed quite a lot sometimes.

  52. Regarding popping, I’ve never done it. Never had to. The scab never lasts that long for me ever, it just disintegrates over and over again and so I do dab it dry and then apply aloe vera or anything soothing or healing so abreva does probably help but I find aloe vera just as good.

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