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Cold Sores

Question:

How were your herpes simples infections (cold sores, non-genital) treated? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Carmex, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 13

I had my first cold sore at about 7 years of age. No treatment meant they stayed a long time and got bigger and bloodier; and the awful red dry lip from the constant licking that was eventually eased with lanolin. But as I sought out my own remedies I have found eucalyptus oil on a cold sore at any stage will stop the root of the cold sore dead. The thing stops growing bigger, but still has to do the blossoming but it is much smaller. Eucalyptus oil dries the skin, then follow up with lanolin.

Comment from: Margaret , 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 26

I used to get cold sores frequently, maybe 6 or more in the year. I started taking lysine about 5 years ago. I still get cold sores but now very rarely. If I feel any suspicious tingle around my mouth, I take 2 or 3 tablets and occasionally the cold sore will appear but will be much less severe or painful. Generally lysine keeps them away for me at least. I would definitely recommend taking it.

Comment from: Nee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I didn't have my first cold sore until I was 44. I had a horrible respiratory virus and sores developed right at the edge of my nostril. They don't occur frequently, but when they do I use a good lavender oil, full strength, directly on the blisters. It usually heals in 3 or 4 days with no scab. I've tried many other things, but this works the best for me.

Comment from: sky, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 27

Sodium ascorbate or plain ascorbate acid if you don't mind the burn, will kill the herpes simplex virus on contact! If you start applying it at the first signs, the minute you feel tingling, it will be gone in a day or so and no scab will develop. Try it, you will be surprised at how well and fast it works. It works for both type 1 and 2; and it's cheap!

Comment from: Grace, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 23

I just finished icing the herpes simplex infection as others suggested and hoping it helps. Fever, sunburn and (my period back in the day) were all triggers. Cold sores are more frequent in the last few years maybe because of aging and not as strong immune system. Thank you for this website. Misery loves company, but other people's experience helps.

Comment from: gladidid, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I suffered with cold sores from an early age, 3 or 4, and Campho-Phenique was the only treatment, and it didn't work very well. Always on my lips, and after going to the beach, and in the fall when the Santa Ana winds blew. It was horrible. Then, at the age of 27, in 1977, while at the doctor's for an upper respiratory cold, and I was sporting a cold sore on my lip, the physician told me that sometimes, because cold sores were a related herpes virus, that a smallpox vaccination might help prevent them. Of course I'd had a smallpox vaccine growing up, but since it was cheap and I figured it couldn't make things any worse, I told him sure. That was 40 years ago, and I swear, I have only had 2 cold sores in that time, and they weren't even very bad! It was like a miracle! Now I hear it isn't that easy to get smallpox vaccinations, but all I can say, is that it sure worked for me!

Comment from: wais, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 21

I am a 42-year-old male who owns a stressful business. In the past three years, due to my business going under, I stressed a lot. I have been getting cold sores about six to seven times a year, especially during winter. I have tried all the name brand staff and nothing has worked for me. I read once an article online that people in Europe use liquid Benzocaine like Anbesol and take a few tabs of ibuprofen. Since 2012, I have gotten them about five times, and right away, I use the oral liquid and take the ibuprofen. This method works the best for me. It stops them in their tracks with zero healing time! Try it and it'll work for you. Now I'm all smiles.

Comment from: Dawn, Female (Caregiver) Published: January 31

I am 47 and get recurring cold sores. Someone once told me to put ice on it and keep it on there for a minute or two, long enough to freeze the nerves. So, of course I tried it. Sure enough it stops it right in his tracks. I was so amazed. So when I get a cold sore now I just put ice on it. I don't buy $30 medications.

Comment from: dar, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 24

To my recollection I have never had cold sores before. I have an ongoing treatment for Anemia and yesterday night I had a tingling sensation on my lip that started around 2 am. Two hours later, I was broken out in hives on the top of my lip, and there are clusters of sores inside my lip. My chin is still tingling and I am in a lot of pain. I work at a natural food store, so i was trying a remedy called Borax 30C. It only helped a little. Aspirin and lip balm seem to work best.

Comment from: T., 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 20

I have been getting cold sores for 20 years. I hate them, they're so awful. The latest and so far the greatest treatment is valtrex and bactine. I used to spend tons of money on cold sore meds and then my husband and I noticed that bactine had the same exact stuff in it as those expensive cold sore meds! So my doctor gave me a two day treatment of valtrex and I sprayed bactine on it several times a day and put a little circle Band-Aid on it (it was on my lower lip) and it healed faster than ever before. It was a scab for two days versus 8 to 14 days. It was a red mark, but it was way better than the blisters and scabs for two weeks! I wore the little Band-Aid for two days. It's not a cure, but it was better than usual. I don't think there's a cure, sadly.

Comment from: Cristina H., 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

I got my first cold sore at 11 after a very stressful situation. It didn't reappear until two years later and after that I kept getting them every so often. After I turned 15 I started getting them on an almost monthly basis. I tried Abreva, L-lysine on a daily basis, over-the-counter-pills, and started doing things like yoga to keep my stress levels as low as possible. It wasn't after a while that I noticed that the blister (cold sore) would usually pop out right before or after my period. I started to think that perhaps it wasn't just the stress, but my hormones. And as a matter of fact it was. Early last year I started using contraceptives, which stabilized my hormone levels, and now I am happy to report that I haven't had a cold-sore problem since then. I know it's not something that most people would consider when they suffer from cold-sores, but it might be something to check out.

Published: May 01

I am 13 years old and a cold sore has been an unwanted yearly visitor ever since i was eight. My cold sores appear on my nose in a cluster of blisters. My nose is often red year round as a result. I treat my cold sores with immediate action whenever I feel a tingle or an itch. Sometimes, this does not work out, and I am forced to go to school with a horrible blister on my nose.

Comment from: MMBoys, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I'm 44 years old and got my first cold sore last year on the side of my nose. I didn't know what it was and initially thought it was a pimple. I was really sore and itchy. I now have my second one and it is in the same area of my nose, but actually seems worse this time. It has developed following a couple of weeks sleep deprivation, stress and now my period. I am using Vectavir Cold Sore Cream applied every two hours. I'm not looking forward to getting more of these hideous painful things.

Comment from: Mary, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 02

I'm 63 and have had them since I was 12. They usually broke out when mother nature showed up monthly. Since menopause they break out about every three months. I started using ice and if I catch them at the first tingle I can keep them from breaking out. It takes patience to keep the ice on it. I takes about 15 minutes but it is worth the cure.

Comment from: Bloody coldsores, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 29

I got my first cold sore at 19 after a very stressful time and the outbreak was severe. It was all over my lower face and nose!! Now I get them about once every two years. If I'm not careful, they spread all over my nose and lips still. The best tingle treatment I've found is Rawleigh's ontiment - works great for me. Lysine seems to work to reduce breakouts if I have a large number of tablets a day from tingle. Ice worked well last time but pretty much had to make my lips go blue. Now, I'm off to a quiet dark stress-less place to relax. Good luck1

Comment from: Aly, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 14

I've been getting cold sores now for about five years, since I was roughly 19 or 20. I know exactly who I got it from (my best friend who let me steal her soda bottle despite having an outbreak of her own going on). For a while, like the first year or so, I'd get them at least once a month and it was the most horrible experience in the world. I'd go to work and get heckled by the guys constantly being asked, "What did you do to your lip?" or "What's that on your lip, kid?" Gradually the outbreaks have calmed down. I used to use an over the counter Chap Stick like medication called Herpecin L for a while, the "college student budget" version of Abreva I found. It really seemed to help and worked quite well! I really need to get another one, now that I think about it. I can usually tell when one is about to form, they generally attack while I'm asleep (they're sneaky like that). I'll generally wake up and my throat will feel very sore, like a gland is aggravated. There's also usually a sensitive spot already on my lip prior to the blister forming (and nine out of ten times I wind up with a dull headache during an outbreak). I hadn't had an outbreak in MONTHS, until this weekend. Friday morning I woke up and sure enough, smack dab in the middle of my lip was an ugly red lump. It's generally brought on with stress (and as I was to be singing in a choir performance both Friday and Saturday night plus having finals start this week...yeah, I'd say stress definitely brought it on!). Sadly, a I'm stuck at school without a car until Thursday, I have to suck it up and let the blasted thing run its course without the aid of medications. Oh how I long to be free from these things again...

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

I am 35 and have been suffering from cold sores for almost 15 years. They didn't get bad until 5 years ago when I had really bad cluster. My doctor prescribed Valtrex and Denavir. The Valtrex was filled with generic, which worked fine. I also use lysine, if I know I'm having a stressful time or will be in the sun for long time, I will start taking 1000mg lysine daily as preventative. As soon as I feel a tingle or itch and think I'm getting one, I'll pop a valtrex. 90% of the time I won't get them, if I do actually get one as soon as I start using the denavir, in addition to the valtrex, the blisters are so small and usually gone in 2-3 days.

Comment from: hate cold sores, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 04

I used Abreva for four days with no relief (at 18.99 for a small tube, it was a rip-off). A friend told me that she used Neosporin. I had the generic brand of Neosporin at home and started using it. Within four hours of application, the swelling in my lip has decreased considerably. The pain is also subsiding.

Comment from: michelle, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 04

I have been getting cold sores all of my life and i was recently prescribed Valtrex however its very expensive ($120.00) for 8 tablets! So they put me on the highest does of acyclovir they could ($5.00) for 8 tablets and it works amazingly. Now my I have to look for my breakouts because they are hard to find sometimes.

Comment from: sp0rtygrl, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I used to get a cold sores almost every other month and they were huge could be spotted a mile away! But now maybe twice a year by taking L-Lysine daily and using SPF 45 lip balm when out in the sun helps.

Comment from: hbss24, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 08

Using Abreva was something that didn't seem to help at all. Prescription Zovirax, the pill form, worked but ONLY if I had my prescription with me within the first 1-3 hours of noticing a cold sore. The prescription was only for four huge pills so when I got several outbreaks in a month keeping the prescription filled became an expensive chore.

Comment from: CH, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 08

I have been getting cold sores from long. Every time I catch flu they do appear, and they're not painful but itchy! You feel them when they are about to appear so when I've got the ointment then I put it before and they will disappear.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 01

I am 31 and I have been getting cold sores for the past 20 years. This has turned into a nightmare. Lately, they come more often than expected.

Comment from: Jim, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 22

I am 53 years old and have been getting cold sores for about the last 25 years. I get them infrequently (about every 2 years), but when I do they are painful and can last for weeks. I have found taking Brewer's Yeast tablets help reduce the severity and duration of the cold sore symptoms. Once I recognize a cold sore is developing, I try to take 2 tablets 3-4 times a day until the symptoms are gone. If I stop too early the symptoms will start coming on again. I will then continue to take the tablets until the symptoms go away.

Comment from: sad soul, 19-24 Female Published: February 08

I used to get cold sores all the time. I usually get them when I'm very sick, or stressed, or if I have been in the sun a lot. It's no fun working in public with cold sores on your face. Some of the over-the-counter medications bring me some relief, but the cold sores still last for about a week.

Comment from: JML, 35-44 Female Published: February 07

I have been getting cold sores for as long as I can remember and it is really embarrassing. In my country people used to say "a cockroach kissed you". One time my doctor put me on a course of Zovirax tablets and that worked really well.

Comment from: Angie, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 18

I had my first cold sore in my early twenties after I was sick with a stomach virus. When my 15-year-old daughter got a cold sore before a big dance two years ago, the very next day I got a cold sore in the corner of my lip. 11 months later at Christmas time, lo and behold I got a cold sore in the exact same place. A year later, this past Christmas guess what I got again, thought it was gone, two weeks later it re-appeared. Working in a dentist office and talking with a patient about my situation, she swore by table salt. I immediately put table salt on the developing lesion and I swear that sore was gone within two days. It never turned into the bumpy, oozing sores, dried up and was gone. Tonight my now 17year-old daughter and I had a heated argument and guess what I have developing on the other corner of my mouth. I immediately applied Abreva to moisten the area and put table salt on top of the area. My sores seem to always come out after a stressful time in my life. Good luck, I know how much fun they are not.

Comment from: MJ, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I have been getting cold sores since I was little. The best relief I have found is aspirin for the pain and instant hand sanitizer gel. I put IHS on the area at the first signs (the tingling). The cold sores don't seem to get as severe, the blisters dry up quickly, and the whole cold sore is healed in about a week. It stings but it is worth it.

Comment from: Not Again..., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I am 49 and got my first cold sore at age 16 from the sun while on vacation down in FL so I went to the drugstore and the pharmacist told me it was herpes simplex I. I was shocked! I suffer for no less than 2 weeks with ungodly pain! I have tried Abreva, Zovirax, Campho-phenique, chapstick and every combination in-between. L-lysine, found OTC with the vitamins, is the best deterrent when taken once a daily for life! "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Otherwise, I'm screwed!

Comment from: joe, 65-74 Male Published: April 12

I have been getting cold sores over the years. I find that the best remedy for me was taking Valtrex at the first sign of tingling and also using Zilactin-l cold sore liquid on the area at first sign of tingling. By using both products it is usually gone within a week.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

Cernik, C., K. Gallina, and R.T. Brodell. "The Treatment of Herpes Simplex Infections: An Evidence-Based Review." Arch Intern Med 168.11 June 9, 2008: 1137-1144.

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