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How to Get Rid of Cold Sores

Updated on October 26, 2018

Cold Sore Scab Stage


Natural Remedies for Cold Sores

The best natural remedy that works for me is Tea Tree oil. It dramatically reduces both the duration and discomfort of the cold sore. Tea Tree oil is antiviral and antibacterial. I use it by applying it with a cotton swab to the outbreak several times during day. It dries out the area and a scab forms quickly. Keep applying tea tree oil until the scab disappears. A cheaper option is nail polish remover. It might sound extreme but it contains acetone so it will dry out the cold sore quickly. Warning! Acetone is toxic so do not use it inside your mouth.

What Works For Me

Last month I had the first two outbreaks in a few months, one after another. It was caused by stress at work. Each one lasted only one week and I treated first one with tea tree oil and the second one with nail polish remover with the same effect. I thought that was the end of it for a while but I thought wrong. I had an outbreak a few days later. Luckily I purchased a Cold sore machine the day before after much research and a lot of desperation! I was skeptical at first but this machine really works!

It is recommended to use it at the tingling stage to prevent an outbreak but I woke up with a small red spot over my upper lip. I treated it with the 'Avert cold sore machine' a few times a day. After the first treatment I noticed that there was no pain and cold sore was not growing or did not break open, leaking like it does every time. It took only a few days for the cold sore to disappear. Doing my research I found out that it can be also used from time to time just to prevent future outbreaks.

It has been few weeks since then and I have had no cold sores outbreaks. The initial cost of this machine is higher than buying a tube of cream but it works out a lot cheaper in the long run. I have it on me all the time and it gives me peace of mind. I hope this article helps any fellow cold sore sufferers out there get some relief from this painful affliction.

How to Prevent Cold Sores - A Personal Story

How to Prevent Cold Sores

I have been suffering with frequent bouts of cold sores for the last few years. Having cold sores changes and controls your life so I wanted do find out what causes cold sores and how to cure my cold sores. I spent months on Google searching for some cold sore cure or remedy. I found a lot of information on causes and treatments of cold sores and I have tried almost all of them and will share with you what works for me.

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores also known as fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus usually enters the body through a break in the skin around or inside the mouth. You get a cold sore when a person touches a cold sore or touches the infected fluid - from sharing eating utensils or razors, kissing an infected person, or touching that person's saliva. Cold sores can also be spread to other areas of the body.

Cold sores are groups of small sores or blister-like lesions on the lip, around the mouth and sometimes in the nose. The skin around cold sore blister often breaks open, leaks a clear fluid and then scabs over after a few days. They usually heal in several days to two weeks.

A GP will usually be able to make a diagnosis just by looking at cold sore. Sometimes a blood test may be ordered.

The first symptoms of cold sore in my case include dry lips, pain around mouth and lips, a fever, extreme tiredness and swollen glands. As the cold sore grows in size so does pain and irritation.

What triggers cold sores?

  • Mental stress
  • Deep sadness or emotional exhaustion
  • Menstruation
  • Intense sunlight/Cracked lips
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Colds or flu (lowers the immune system)

How do I avoid getting the Herpes Simplex Virus?

  • Avoid coming into contact with infected body fluids such as kissing an infected person.
  • Don't use eating utensils, drinking cups or other items that a person with a cold sore may have used.
  • Follow good hand hygiene
  • Avoid stress in your life
  • Protect against colds or the flu
  • Always use lip balm and sunscreen on your face. Too much sunlight can cause cold sores to flare up
  • Avoid coffee and chocolate (yes, I know! I found this very hard to do but it worked!)

Cold sores are very common. There is currently no cure or prevention for infected people but steps can be taken to reduce their frequency and duration. Some people take Lysine tablets when they feel the tingly sensation of an outbreak occurring or to help heal a cold sore that has already developed. Eat food rich in Lysine instead such as: cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, some fruit and vegetables. As I cannot eat much dairy for different reasons I take one Lysine tablet every day.

Your immune system is one of the most important weapons that you can work with to fight and control herpes symptoms. It can be boosted by taking vitamins and Echinaforce drops which contain Echinacea. Your immune system has the potential to completely suppress the symptoms. What works for me is to maintain a balanced nutritious diet. I substituted caffeine rich drinks with water and herbal teas.

I try to avoid or reduce stress in my life because I found it to be the biggest trigger for cold sores. I now meditate every day using mindfulness meditation and exercise at least four times a week.

Medical Treatments for Cold Sores

There are many non-prescription ointments and antiviral medications on the market that promise to relieve pain or help to heal cold sores such as Abreva or Zovirax. Some of them claim to speed the healing of cold sores and prevent them if applied early enough and work well for some people.

What they did for me is slightly shorten the duration of the outbreak but the discomfort and pain stayed. I found patches useless because they not only did not hide my cold sore but they were peeling off after I ate or drank something. Creams are very messy and always smeared everywhere else except on the cold sore! Cold sore creams can soak and soften the cold sore preventing it from scabbing which extends time of healing. Applying ice cubes or a tea bag did not make any difference for me.


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    • PhilWall profile imageAUTHOR

      Philip Wall 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Thanks for your comment peachpurple. Just spreading the good word :)

    • peachpurple profile image


      7 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wonderful hub. I thought cold sores are the same as ulcers. Voted up


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