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Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly


Mahlagha Homayouni


December 10, 2020




Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly: Cold sores that are also known as fever blisters are tiny and fluid-filled blisters that often outbreak around your mouth and nose, though they can appear anywhere on your face. Most of the time, these blisters are grouped and make a larger region infected. After its formation, its healing can take 2 to 3 weeks, and unfortunately, currently, there is no overnight cold sore treatment. However, they don’t leave any scar after 2 or 3 weeks and don’t make long-lasting issues.


They are viral infections for which HSV viruses are responsible. These painful blisters are full of the herpes simplex virus, that’s a contagious virus that more than half of people carry. These infections are pretty common and many people experience them in their life between 14 to 49, HSV-1 is the most commonly recurring viral infection, which makes it an ordinary issue that should be treated properly.

If cold sore treatment starts as soon as the first signs are appearing, its process would be faster and the patient would be healed sooner. Several types of treatments are available for this infection, which would be presented in this article. It is important to take a step toward treating it before it covers a corner of your mouth because this virus will extend to a larger area if the patient does not start to use suitable remedies.

What are Cold Sores

Cold Sores are common viral infections that cause tiny red sores around the lips and nose of the patient. They are very common and around 50-80% of people in the USA suffer from HSV-1 virus infection. Herpes simplex virus is a contagious virus that would be carried from the close connection to other people, for example in kissing. They can also appear in the mouth or occur without visible symptoms, which makes them more contagious.

As we mentioned earlier, currently no known cold store treatment is available, but several types of remedies and associated treatments are available that help patients to reduce their symptoms.

What are Cold Sores

Herpes simplex virus type 1 is the most common cause of the cold sore. This viral infection has an evolution process and the patients should pass through its various phases and stages. From the first signs, it takes 2 to 3 weeks to be on the face and after that, it would remain inactive in the place.

If the patient follows the medical instructions, it can be done after 2 weeks, but if the patient does not care, it could be complicated and lead to other kinds of infection, including brain infection that can lead to death.

Cold Sore Symptoms and Stages

A cold sore will appear with several symptoms.

The early-stage symptoms of a cold sore are the following symptoms:

– Tingling

– Blistering

– Weeping

– Crusting

– Healing

The first symptoms include a burning or tingling feeling in the mouth or face several days before its outbreak. The best time to start treatment is at this stage that the infection does not outbreak yet. However, this burning feeling will lead to visible tiny scars and sores. From the first symptoms, it takes 48 hours to break open cold sores and weep fluid, which contains the herpes virus. After this stage, a scab will form on the sore and begin to heal.

During an outbreak, patients could also experience one or more of the following symptoms:

– Muscle aches

– Fever

– Swollen lymph nodes

These symptoms are painful and the patient will suffer from their pain as well as their sight that affects the lips and face of the patient. As we mentioned earlier, there is no treatment for this infection, but several types of treatments are available that will help the patients to reduce these symptoms. Each of these treatments and remedies has a peculiar impact on this problem.

In most of the cases, herpes simplex virus infection would be healed after 2 to 3 weeks, however, after feeling these symptoms it is recommended to visit a medical doctor because HSV can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated properly.

In the following, we will introduce various stages of the cold sore.

Stage 1: Tingling

Everything starts with a tingling feeling around your mouth. Most of the time, tingling is the first symptom of cold sores breakout. It might also cause burning or itching. If the patient begins the treatment process as soon as feeling tingling, the severity and duration of the disease will be reduced. It does not help to prevent the formation of a cold sore, but it can reduce bothering symptoms of this illness. During this phase, patients can use oral medication for cold sore treatment. They can use these medications daily to limit the outbreaks of the herpes simplex virus.

Two types of special medicines available for cold sore are as the following:

Topical treatments include: 

– Docosanol (Abreva)

– Acyclovir (Zovirax)

– Penciclovir (Denavir)

Oral medications include:

– Acyclovir (Zovirax)

– Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

– Famciclovir (Famvir)

At this stage, it is not rare to have pain around cold sores on your face, for which you can use OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen.

Stage 2: Blistering

About a day or two after the initial tingling phase, typically cold sore moves to the blistering stage. At this phase blisters filled with fluid appear on the skin. Redness occurs around and under these blisters.

At this phase, patients should use pain relievers, oral and topical treatments, and other types of treatments to reduce cold sore symptoms. They also need to increase their water intake.


At this stage, the virus is very contagious and can easily spread to other parts of your face. Thus, patients at this stage should regularly wash their hands after touching the affected area, and avoid sharing drinks or food. Intimate contacts, including kissing and oral sex, could also help the spread of the virus.

When blistering starts, patients have to limit their contact with others to avoid the spread of the virus and use cold sore treatment to get rid of the problem. The patient might also feel discomfort in eating at the blistering stage.

They also have to avoid some foods like:

– Citrus

– Spicy foods

– Salty foods

– Hot liquids

Stage 3: Weeping

A few days after blistering, the cold sore will break open. They are most contagious at this time and the patient should avoid touching them at this stage. Open sores at this phase will be shallow and red.

The patient should use topical creams and oral pain relievers to ease their symptoms. They might also use a cold or hot compress to relieve the pain around the cold sore.

Because sores become similar to dry wounds after weeping, some patients try to pick them to get rid of them. However, picking them can cause worsen the condition or spread of the virus. It might also cause a bacterial skin infection around your current cold sore.

Stage 4: Crusting

After the weeping phase, blisters will dry. This starts the crusting phase. Blisters will look yellow or brown after drying. The patient should be careful to not picking the crusted blister. At this phase, they can use compress and zinc oxide ointment to relieve the pain and condition.


Stage 5: Healing

After the final stage of the cold sore, the healing phase starts. This happens when the crusted blister scabs over. Patients can use ointments that contain zinc oxide or aloe vera to keep the scab soft and decrease irritation.

The scab will disappear slowly. In general, cold sores don’t leave scars after the treatment, so don’t worry about their trace on your face.

Overview of the cold sore outbreak

The first sign that you will notice might be a feeling of itching or burning at the place that a cold sore would outbreak. Patients who suffer this problem repeatedly will notice this sign and can identify it and start their treatment or healing process.

It is important to start the healing process as soon as you understand that you are infected because the outbreak didn’t occur yet and you can try some treats to make it less painful and intense.

As you know, there is no permanent cold sore treatment and patients could only use other treatments that are effective in healing infections.

24 hours after tingling and itching blisters erupt. This process is somehow a painful process at which you know there is a serious problem.

Then fluid-filled blisters appear which in turn will be burst, ooze, and form painful sores in the following days. In the next stage, sores dry out and form a scab over. The last stage of healing is the falling of these scabs that occur when the cold sore heals.

We can sum up the process in 5 stages:

– Stage 1:

24 hours before the eruption, tingling and itching occurs

– Stage 2:

fluid-filled blister erupts and appear

– Stage 3:

these blister ooze, burst, and painful shape sores

– Stage 4:

the sores dry out and make a scab that causes itching and cracking

– Stage 5:

these scabs will fall and the treatment process is done.

 Cold Sore Risk Factors

According to recent studies, almost 90 percent of adults worldwide test positive for HSV-1. However, the following risk factors might reactivate it:

– Fever, infection, or a cold

– Sun exposure

– Stress

– Hiv/AIDS or a weak immune system

– Menstruation 

– Eczema 

– Severe burns

– Chemotherapy

– Dental treatment

As we mentioned earlier, HSV is a contagious virus and you will be at risk when you contact an infected person through kissing, sharing drinks or foods, or sharing other personal items. You can get the virus even if there are no visible blisters and outbreaks.

 Cold Sore Risk Factors

Cold sore causes

As we mentioned earlier, the herpes simplex virus is the main cause of cold sores infections. HSV-1 is often related to the cold sore, and HSV-2 is often responsible for genital herpes. But with close contact, both of them can spread to the face or genitals, thus it is recommended to avoid kissing or oral sex when you have a cold sore.

In the first and intermediate stages when the patient has oozing blisters, a cold sore is most contagious and easily spreads through contact with infected body fluids. But as we mentioned earlier, you can spread the virus even if you don’t have blisters around your lips.

What is very annoying about this virus is that it would remain in nerve cells in the skin and may remerge as another cold sore at the same place as before.

The following factors can trigger recurrence:

– Viral infection and fever

– Hormonal changes, like menstruation

– Stress

– Fatigue

– Exposure for a long time to sunlight or wind

– Changes in the immune system 

– Injuries to the skin

Cold sore complications

The first stages of herpes simplex may cause more severe complications because the patient’s body has not built up a defense to the virus yet. Complications occur rarely, especially in young children.

However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

– High fever or persistent fever

– Difficulty swallowing or breathing

– Irritated eyes

Patients that also suffer eczema or conditions that weaken their immune systems, such as cancer or AIDS, are more likely at risk of complications. Therefore, if you have any of these conditions you should immediately call your doctor and try cold sore treatment after knowing that you are infected.

Cold sore complications could occur with virus spread to other parts of the body, including:

– Fingers. This kind of infection is known as herpes whitlow

– Genitals. It might cause warts or ulcers on the genitals or anus

– Eczema. Patients that suffer from eczema have a high risk to involve in a serious condition called eczema herpeticum. It is a painful rash that can cover large areas of the skin. 

– Eyes. As we mentioned earlier, this complication can cause blindness

– Brain or Spinal cord. HSV can lead to a dangerous inflammation that is known as meningitis or encephalitis, especially when the patient suffers from a weakened immune system. 

Cold sore complications


Herpes Whitlow

The first type of HSV complication affects the patient’s finger. It can develop on any of the fingers. This infection will appear within 1 to 2 weeks after exposure to the herpes simplex virus. It might be a single blister or a cluster of blisters and takes up to 3 weeks to heal.

Various phases of evolution of HSV also apply on herpes whitlow, which means blisters will weep eventually. After this stage, a shallow ulcer with a scab will appear. Patients feel a pain that is worse than normal cold sore pain, and also feel fever at this phase.

Just like herpes simplex, herpes whitlow can recur after an initial outbreak, but this is rare, and because the body produces antibodies, it would be easier than the first outbreak.


Genital Herpes

This is one of the most common complications of herpes simplex that can also lead to other complications. Sexual contact is the primary way that this virus spreads. Just like herpes simplex, it can lie dormant in the body and reactivate several times a year.

Genital herpes can cause pain, itching, and sores in the genital area of the body in women and men. It might occur without any symptoms, and people can spread it without knowing that they are infected.

This complication of herpes simplex does not have any cure, and its treatment is like cold sore treatment and could be done with remedies to reduce the symptoms.

Genital herpes symptoms and complications

Genital herpes symptoms would outbreak 1 to 2 weeks after the virus spread. The patient will not feel anything but a tingling feeling before the outbreak.

The following symptoms would occur after that:


– Pain or itching: from the first symptoms, patients feel pain in their genital area till the infection clears

– Small red bumps or tiny white blisters. A few days to a week after infection, these signs will appear in the infected area. 

– Ulcers. After that blisters rupture and bleed, ulcers may appear in their place. They may make it painful or burning to urinate. 

– After ulcers heal, the skin will form scabs. 

This type of HSV can lead to various complicated problems. It also involves different parts of the body in female and male patients. Thus, it is recommended to avoid touching your genital area when you are suffering from herpes simplex virus. Possible complications that are associated with genital herpes include:

– Other sexual infections. Genital herpes infection increases the risk of transmitting other sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS.

– Newborn infection. Infected mothers can bear infected babies that may result in brain damage, blindness, or even death for the newborn.

– Blader problems. Genital herpes can associate with inflammation around the tube that delivers urine. This is a painful condition that makes it hard to urinate.

– Meningitis. Just like herpes simplex, genital herpes can lead to meningitis in some cases. It is a rare instance, but it is really dangerous and you should be aware of its risk.

– Rectal inflammation. This problem can also lead to inflammation of the lining of the rectum.

Genital herpes is an infection that spreads by touching and contacting infected areas. To avoid this type of complication, you should use sexual protection.

The following symptoms would occur after that

Eczema Herpeticum

In rare cases, patients that suffer from eczema after infection to HSV will suffer from a condition called Eczema herpeticum. This is a rare illness in which large areas of the skin would be infected and the patient feels pain in these areas. This complication most commonly affects young children who have eczema or other inflammatory skin conditions. But it can also infect adults.


Its symptoms include: 

– Chills 

– High fever

– Swollen lymph glands

– General unwell feeling

Eczema herpeticum is not the worse complication of herpes simplex, but it infects large areas of the patient’s skin. To prevent this complication, patients should avoid touching blisters that cause the virus to spread, particularly if they eczema or other types of skin inflammatory diseases.

Eye Herpes

Eye herpes is a condition of the eye caused by a complication of the herpes simplex virus. It involves various parts of the eye, and its most common form is called epithelial keratitis, which affects the cornea that is the clear front part of the eye. If it infects the deeper middle layers of the cornea it can cause severe damage that leads to vision loss and blindness.

Eye herpes is the most common cause of blindness in the western world. This is one of the most serious complications of HSV. However, it requires similar treatment like cold sore treatment with antiviral medications.

Eye Herpes symptoms

As we mentioned earlier, these complications could outbreak when the patient touches cold sores and with the same hand touch another part of the body. Thus, to avoid these complications, it is recommended to wash your hand carefully after touching the sores.

However, the following symptoms are associated with eye herpes:

– Eye pain

– Sensitivity to light

– Blurry vision

– Tearing 

– Red-eye

– Mucus discharge

– Inflamed eyelids

– Rash on the upper eyelid and one side of the forehead that is painful and red blistering

Herpes affects only one eye in many cases and not necessarily both eyes. It is somehow similar to other eye infections like conjunctivitis, which is known as pink eye. Both of them are viral infections, however, conjunctivitis can also be caused by allergies, bacteria, or chemicals.


Encephalitis (brain or spinal cord infection)

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue. Its most common cause is viral infections, but in rare cases, it could be caused by bacteria or fungi.

Two main types of encephalitis are known:

– Primary encephalitis

– Secondary encephalitis

The primary type occurs when a virus directly infects the brain and spinal cord. Secondary occurs when an infection starts in other parts of the body and then moves to the brain. This type of infection is very rare, but is life-threatening and should be treated as soon as possible. It can range from mild infections to severe ones.

Symptoms of mild infection include:

– Fever

– Headache

– Vomiting 

– Stiff neck

– Exhaustion

While the symptoms of severe encephalitis infection include: 

– High fever

– Confusion

– Hallucinations 

– Drowsiness

– Slower movements 

– Coma 

– Seizures

– Irritability

– Sensitivity to light 

– Unconsciousness

This rare complication of herpes simplex can cause dangerous conditions in the patients that could lead to death. As we mentioned earlier, these complications are direct results of taking the virus easily and touching their blisters without washing the hands after that. Thus, it is recommended to wash your hands regularly when you have cold sores.

Cold sore treatment is a process that applies to various complications of this illness. By taking serious your treatment you can avoid different types of complications like encephalitis, which can lead to death.

Common triggers of the cold sore

Many people believe certain foods can trigger the outbreak of cold sore. Some of them believe eating tomato is related to the problem, while others believe in other ingredient’s responsibility.

However, there is few or no proof for these claims and the main risk factors of cold sores are typically the following conditions:

– Long exposure to hot sun or cold wind

– A cold or other kinds of illness

– A weakened immune system

– Stress

– Hormone fluctuations

– Cracked, dry lips

As you can see, food ingredients don’t affect cold sore outbreaks as much as environmental factors. A weak immune system is another common trigger that activates HSV in the patients.

Cold sore recur

The herpes simplex virus enters the nerve cells and moves up the nerve until entering a place called a ganglion, in which it resides quietly phase that is called “dormant” or “latent”. It can later become active and start replicating again, and move down the nerve to skin and cause another cold sore outbreak.

The following triggers are known as the causes of recurrences:

– A fever, a cold, or the flu

– UV rays (long exposure to sunlight)

– Emotional or physical stress 

– Weak immune system

– Trauma to the involved area

This process is not fully understood by scientists yet and sometimes it is not clear what causes the recurrence of the cold sore. However, the cold sore treatment should be done after any recurrence. To prevent this risk, patients should consume foods that are healthy and avoid foods that can trigger a cold sore recurrence.

Recurs happens sooner or later for many HSV patients. After handling once with this illness, patients will know its features and with the first symptoms, they can understand that the cold sore is recurring. Thus, they can use their medications and treatment to reduce their symptoms and the time it takes to heal. As we mentioned earlier, it is recommended to start treating the problem as soon as possible.

Cold sore recur

How to diagnose cold sore

The diagnosis of a cold sore is easily made based on the visual appearance of the sore. Thus, if you see something like that just visit a doctor. The doctor can identify it from other types of symptoms, and if there is a concern that it might not be a cold sore, the blister fluid may be collected for viral culture or PCR test. This should be done in the first 48 hours of infection, and it takes between 3 to 5 days. PCR test is a great option for diagnosis of the cold sore, however, it is an expensive medical procedure that could not be affordable for cold sore treatment.

It is important to identify the problem as soon as possible because, after the formation of the blisters, few works can reduce its symptoms and issues. Thus, after seeing the first symptoms and signs, simply try to visit your doctor. You should also avoid touching a cold sore on your face and wash your hands carefully after any touch.

Cold sore treatment

Now that the reader is familiar with cold sore infection and its symptoms, risk factors, and associated problems, we can introduce different types of treatment that could be used to heal this illness. Several types of treatment are available, from home remedies to various medicines and medical treatments.

Several types of over-the-counter products are available to reduce symptoms of this problem. As we mentioned earlier, it is important to use the antiviral ointment as soon as you feel tingling and itching.

In the following, we will introduce different types of cold sore treatment that could be used to prevent it from developing critical conditions.

Cold sore treatment medicines

As we mentioned earlier, a cold sore is an illness that does not have a known effective treatment yet.

3 types of medicine are available for reducing the symptoms and relieving the pain associated with cold sores.

These cold sore treatment medicines are as the following:

– Over-the-counter medications: as you know, you can buy these without a prescription. Creams or ointments are available in this form that you can directly use when you feel tingling or itching. If you use these medicines as soon as possible there is a chance to prevent the cold sore from appearing. 

– Oral antiviral medicine: these medicines are more powerful than the former items and you should have a prescribed from a doctor to have access to them. These medicines are consumed orally and you should take them according to the doctor’s prescription. 

– Intravenous (IV) antiviral medicine: These types of antiviral drugs are the most powerful types of medicines, which your doctor will prescribe if other types of medicines don’t work on your body. 

Abreva is an OTC topical remedy used to heal cold sore fast and minimize its pain. Patients should use it many times in a day to speed up the healing. Docosanol (Abreva) is an antiviral ointment that will help many people to reduce their cold sore symptoms. It is one of the most used medicines for this illness and is considered an effective cold sore treatment.

Prescription medicines for the cold sore treatment

But it is not the only option to treat this disease. Several types of prescription antiviral are available for this problem and your doctor will introduce them to you.

The following medicines are prescribed by doctors for healing HSV infections:

– Acyclovir (Zovirax): this medicine is available in both oral form and as a topical cream

– Famciclovir: an oral medicine that helps in getting rid of cold sores

– Penciclovir (Denavir): a cream that is very effective against cold sore

– Valacyclovir (Valtrex): available as a tablet and oral medicine

All of these medicines will be more effective when used in the first 24 hours of infection. Cold sore patients are familiar with the process and when they receive these medicines, they are recommended to use them as soon as they find the first symptoms of the infection.

Because there are chances that a cold sore becomes complicated by bacterial infections, it is also recommended to wash it regularly and avoiding touching your face.

How to prevent cold sore

That there is no cold sore treatment does not mean there is nothing to do with this illness. Several instructions are available to prevent cold sore infection.

By considering the following instructions, you will be less at the risk of this infection:

– After touching a cold sore, whether on your face or others, wash your hands.

– After touching your cold sore don’t rub your eyes that could lead to ocular herpes infection, which may lead to permanent blindness if left unhealed. 

– Cold sore can also infect your genitals, thus after touching it you should avoid touching your genitals to prevent developing genital herpes. 

– After the outbreak, replace your toothbrush.

– Don’t kiss someone with a cold sore or use that person’s devices.

– Before exposure for a long time to the sun, apply sunscreen to your face and lips

– After the outbreak, replace your lipstick 

Food ingredients to prevent cold sore

As we mentioned in the last section about the food, there is not enough evidence about the impact of foods in triggering cold sore breakout, but certain food ingredients are helpful to prevent from getting this annoying disease. In the following, we will introduce various ingredients and foods that are helpful in cold sore treatment via prevention.


Herpes simplex needs a source of arginine to be able to replicate in the body. Arginine is an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide in the body, which is a necessary item for expanding blood vessels and improving blood flow. Lysine is another amino acid that could be found in foods that are full of proteins. It makes arginine unavailable for this virus. Research suggests that lysine might reduce the number of occurrences of this infection and lowers healing time. In a study, for example, researchers found that lysine will fasten the healing process and shortens the average time from 21 days to 6 days.

Common foods that are rich in lysine include:

– Meat (Beef, chicken, Turkey, pork)

– Cheese 

– Fish (codfish and sardines in particular)

– Soybeans 

– Spirulina

– Fenugreek seed

– Eggs

– Yogurt

Lysine is an essential ingredient for human health, which helps to absorb calcium and formation of collagen. You should make sure to consume it in proper amounts.

Without having enough lysine in your body, you might experience the following symptoms:


– Nausea

– Appetite loss

– Agitation 

– Anemia 

Lysine is very effective in making arginine unavailable for this virus. As we discussed earlier, arginine is an amino acid that cold sore need to be able to replicate in the body. Thus, the other important step toward preventing cold sore is to avoid ingesting foods that are high in arginine.

The following foods are rich in arginine:

– Certain meats

– Peanuts and other nuts

– Legumes

– Whole grains

If you bother from repeated cold sores breakouts, you can simply reduce the consumption of these foods to lower the levels of arginine in your body.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a popular cold sore treatment that many people believe is effective. It can fight off bacteria and viruses and other germs, which make it a very popular ingredient that could be used as a remedy for infections. However, full-strength apple cider vinegar is too intense to be used on a cold sore.

Because it has some features that will fasten drying these sores, its usage will help patients to get rid of this problem faster. But it is recommended to dilute this vinegar before using and then applying only once or twice per day.

Tea Tree Oil

This is another strong ingredient that some believe helps fight off the herpes simplex virus. It has a unique smell that if you like it, you can use it as your favorite treatment for this disease. However, this essential oil is also too intense to be used directly on your cold sore. Thus, you should make sure to dilute it before using it on your skin.

According to a 2009 study, tea tree oil has a potent antiviral effect on herpes simplex virus. However, as we mentioned earlier, this study doesn’t offer enough scientific evidence about its effectiveness. Thus, like many other ingredients, you can try it to know whether it will work for you or not. Skin features are unique in every person, and people will react differently to ingredients, so they will find different ingredients being effective for their problems. Tea tree essential oil is one of the most favorite types of cold sore treatment.

Kanuka Honey

Kanuka honey, which comes from the manuka tree in New Zealand, is identified as a useful ingredient for treating cold sores. Honey already has a reputation for helping wounds healing and approving skin conditions. According to this research, Kanuka honey is as effective as acyclovir, which is a medicine for this problem.

According to a relatively large study about Kanuka honey’s effectiveness against cold sores, researchers found out that it could be as effective as some of the most effective medicines that are available on the market. This study claims kanuka honey is a more natural alternative to antiviral creams and can do just as good a job at reducing the time that a cold sore remains on the face.

Kanuka honey is not traditional honey that you can find in jars in supermarkets. It is a medicinal-grade product that you should search for it at pharmacies or similar stores. This means they are generally sterilized and contain more antimicrobial ingredients.


Lemon Balm

This vegetable is another ingredient that according to some studies has an effective impact on cold sores. It is an herb from the mint family and is believed to be useful to fasten the process of cold sore treatment. Lemon balm is not an oil or vinegar and could be used fresh.

It is also available in capsule form and people who don’t like its smell can use these capsules that are used for a variety of other treatment purposes.

According to a study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18693101/), Melissa officinalis or lemon balm oil offers an antiviral effect to herpes simplex virus and could be used as an effective cold sore treatment. This study claims this essential oil is up to more than 95% effective for HSV-1 and HSV-2. Lemon balm oil is one of the most effective ingredients that could be used for healing cold sores. However, as an essential oil, you should consider many things when you want to use it on your face skin.

Peppermint Oil

Studies show that peppermint oil, which is an essential oil, is also effective in fighting off both types of HSV. It is from the same family of lemon balm, but it is a concentrated oil that is too intense to use directly around the lips.

As it is recommended for using other essential oils as remedies for cold sore, you should first try to dilute peppermint oil in water, then applying it on your face.

Other essential oils

Several types of essential oils are used traditionally to treat cold sores. They are mostly used when other treatments, especially medical treatments, are not working properly.

However, you can add the following essential oils to your list:

– Ginger

– Thyme

– Hyssop

– Sandalwood

As we mentioned earlier, various studies show they may be even effective for drug-resistant versions of HSV. However, essential oils should always be diluted before applying to the face.

Other types of essential oils that could be effective in cold sore treatment include:

Anise oil

– Oregano oil

– Chamomile oil

– Eucalyptus oil


Possible side effects of Essential Oils

Other than the particular antiviral properties of each essential oil, they have also common properties that are useful in the treatment of this illness. β-caryophyllene, a chemical compound that could be found in most essential oils, is an antiviral ingredient that is particularly effective in cold sore treatment. Thus, it would be accepted that these essential oils can be as effective as some chemical medicines.

However, there are several things one should keep in mind when using essential oils as a topical skin treatment:

Diluting: you should use a nonabrasive carrier oil like coconut oil to dilute the essential oils because these oils also prevent further inflame by the cold sore. 

– Don’t overuse essential oils. It can weaken the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and make it hard for the skin to repair. 

– Use an allergy or sensitivity test. Some people are allergic to the ingredients that are present in essential oils. Thus, it is recommended to use a test before its application on your face. try it in a low dose to a part of your body skin, and wait for at least 30 minutes, if any redness or inflame occurs you should avoid using that essential oil.

– Possible side effects from using essential oils to treat cold sore range from stinging sensation to burning or even bleeding at the site of the sore. If you feel your skin has a negative reaction to the essential oils, stop using them, and contact your doctor.  


Ice is not a treatment like other treatments that have something to do with the virus. Instead, it helps to slow cold sore development and should be used once per hour especially in the first stages of the breakout. Ice decreases the blood flow and slows down the development of the HSV. It should be applied for 5 to 10 minutes each hour during the first and second phases of development of the cold sore.

By slowing down the development, ice will help the patient to prevent large outbreaks of cold sores. It is one of the most effective cold sore treatments that should be used along with other medicines and useful foods for the problem. Patients should avoid direct applying of ice on the sore, and it is recommended to use single-use ice packs or use other frozen objects to press the sores. Ice and cold compress is a helpful treatment for various stages and phases of the cold sore.


Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a plant that is used to heal skin problems for more than 2000 years and recently has gained public attention as an alternative treatment for many types of skin diseases. According to a study published in the General Dentistry journal, aloe vera is also effective in the treatment of herpes simplex.

Aloe vera gel that comes from its plant is an effective ingredient that can be used as a cold sore treatment. It is one of the most popular herbal plants and you can find it at many supermarkets and shops. It does not need any special preparation and you can apply it directly on the sore. It provides some relieving properties and will help to dry the sores.

Aloe vera has many known anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce burns and irritations and speed up the healing process of wounds. Now, it is found that it also has many amazing antiviral properties that inhibit the replication and growth of the HSV.

Aloe Vera

How to Use Aloe Vera For Cold Sores

Depending on what you hope to achieve, you can use both aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice. If you want to prevent the outbreak of cold sores on your face, you can simply drink aloe vera juice to boost your immune system. But if you already have a cold sore on your face, you can apply aloe vera gel directly on the sore to benefit from its antiviral healing properties. To do this, the patient should follow three simple steps:

– Obtaining aloe vera gel. You can simply make it at home or buy a manufactured one from stores. Using a plant would be the easiest way, in which you should just cut a fresh leaf, break it open, and squeeze its gel out.

– Before applying the gel, use warm water and a clean piece of cloth to clean your cold sores. You can also use a mild antiseptic to kill its microorganisms.

– Use your index finger to scoop the aloe vera gel, and then apply to the sore.

This method should be used every 5 hours and it will help the patient to get rid of cold sores in 4 to 5 days. If you are an aloe vera fan, then you can add this benefit to the list of aloe vera advantages. It is a natural and effective cold sore treatment that will heal the problem in less than a week. (https://www.globosurfer.com/aloe-vera-for-cold-sores/)

Vanilla oil/extract

Some studies suggest vanilla extract provides antiviral and antibacterial that could be used to reduce the speed of development in herpes simplex and prevent it from growing. Vanilla is one of the most desired ingredients in the world, and this feature makes it also an herbal and healing ingredient.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

To use vanilla as cold sore treatment, simply follow these instructions:

– Soak a cotton piece in vanilla 

– Apply it directly on the sore, hold it for 2 minutes. 

You should repeat this process four times daily to see the best results. 

Foods that boost the immune system

When someone has a weak immune system, she/he would more likely get a cold sore. Thus, it is recommended to eat foods that boost your immune system to prevent getting this illness. In the following, we will introduce various types of foods that are helpful to empower your immune system. Using these items in your daily diet, make your immune system strong, and reduce the chances to get a cold sore. However, these foods are not exclusively useful for cold sore treatment, but they are simply healthy foods that will help your body be strong against viral infections such as herpes simplex virus.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are great resources of vitamin C and will provide the required amounts of this vitamin to have a healthy body.

What is amazing is that they have several types from which you can choose your favorite one:

– Oranges

– Grapefruit

– Tangerines 

– Clementines

– Lemons 

– Limes

Vitamin C is a daily required vitamin that should be used every day because our body can not produce it. Its recommended daily intake is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.

Red bell peppers

The amount of vitamin C that could be found in red bell peppers is almost 3 times more than citrus fruits. They also contain a high amount of beta carotene, which is a very helpful element for the immune system. The available vitamin C in red peppers is also very good for our skin health. These features make it a great food that you should put in your daily diet to have a strong immune system.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly


Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables that you can use in your daily diet. It contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is a high resource of vitamins A, C, E, as well as many antioxidants and fiber that is very great for your body.

Broccoli is a great food that empowers your immune system. However, to achieve all benefits of this food, you should cook it as little as possible or not at all, which is a better option. Steaming is the best cooking way to keep more nutrients in the food. Thus, adding broccoli to your diet food will help you to have a healthier body.



Traditionally looked at as an anti-infection ingredient, garlic is used for thousands of years in different cultures and diets. Garlic is a great ingredient for a healthy body and it boosts the immune system. It also offers benefits that help blood pressure.

Garlic is a great resource for sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, and its immune-boosting properties seem to come from high concentrations of these compounds. Thus, it provides an alternative way of boosting the immune system that is not based on vitamin C.


Ginger is another ingredient that is known traditionally as strong food for illness times. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce cold sore inflammation. It is a great ingredient that is used in many sweet desserts and foods, which is also helpful in decreasing chronic pains.

Adding ginger to your daily diet will help you to have a healthier immune system. Ginger also has cholesterol-lowering properties and will help you to have a strong body. Try to use natural ginger in organic foods, as its chemical flavors will not help you to have a stronger immune system.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly


Spinach is another great vegetable that offers various helpful properties. It is a rich source of vitamin C but also packed with various antioxidants and beta carotene, which are known for improving the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

Just like broccoli, spinach would be more helpful when it is cooked as little as possible. Spinach is very helpful in empowering our immune system and should be used in our daily diet, not as a cold sore treatment but simply as a resource of various antioxidants.


Yogurt is a healthy food that stimulates our immune system to help fight diseases. To use this feature, you need to use plain yogurts rather than flavored and sugar-filled products. You can simply use fresh fruits or honey to sweeten and flavor your yogurt.

The best types of yogurt to empower the immune system are those which are fortified with vitamin D. This vitamin regulated the immune system and boosts our natural defense against various diseases.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly


Almonds, like many other nuts, are filled with vitamin E and also have healthy fats. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is available in almonds and other nuts. A half-cup of almonds provides around 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

Our immune system requires vitamin E and healthy fats to resolve these vitamins in the body. Using almonds in our daily diet will increase the levels of vitamin E in our blood, which helps us to be stronger against infections.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are another rich source of nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B-6, and vitamin E. As we mentioned in the last section, vitamin E is important in the regulation of immune system function. Other foods that present a large amount of vitamin E include avocados and various kinds of leafy greens, particularly dark ones.

Sunflower seeds are rich also in selenium. According to several studies, this gives them the potential to fight viral infections such as flu. They are not a direct cold sore treatment but could be used to have a stronger immune system.

Sunflower Seeds


Turmeric is one of the key spices in many countries. It is a great ingredient that will boost our immune system. Tumeric offers antiviral properties as well as being a rich source of curcumin, which gives this spice its color, which is a helpful ingredient in decreasing muscle damages. Turmeric is used in various types of traditional medicines for thousands of years and is a well-known medicine.


Cold sore treatment compounds

In the last section, we introduced foods that are effective in reducing the time of infection or helping to get rid of it faster; in this section, we will introduce the chemical compounds that are present in these foods. These compounds are known for their effects against viral infections as well as their direct impact on cold sores.


Various studies show that the process of replication of herpes simplex is an oxidative stress-related process and antioxidants would be useful in decreasing this virus replication (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5829443/). According to these studies, the OS level in the blood increased by a herpes virus infection, and the presence of antioxidants will lower this process.

This study shows antioxidants are an effective cold sore treatment that could be used to reduce herpes virus yield. Besides, they found out that some antioxidants could more efficient than others in this regard. Antioxidants will also boost the immune system in our body. Thus, larger amounts of these ingredients in the blood will help us to have stronger bodies with empowered immune systems.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most required vitamins in our daily diet. It has many vital effects on our health and is involved in many mechanisms in our body. Vitamin C is responsible for our immune system. Vitamin C is available in various kinds of vegetables and fruits, and as you know, red bell pepper and citrus fruits are great sources of this vitamin.

Vitamin C is not a suitable cold sore treatment and it helps our immune system to be active and fight against various infections. Thus, it should be used to prevent getting cold sores, and could not be used to kill it or get rid of it. To avoid cold sores breakouts, you should eat efficient amounts of vitamin C daily.


Zinc is another compound that is required for the proper function of our immune system. Zinc is not as popular and well-known as vitamin C or antioxidants, but it provides many benefits for the treatment of infections such as herpes simplex virus.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

According to a recent study, zinc is not only effective in boosting our immune system, but it is also effective in decreasing the viral load of HSV, and improves healing rates, and relieves the symptoms of herpes.

You need efficient amounts of zinc in your body, and you can intake it via foods or diet supplementary. This helps you to have a stronger immune system that will easily handle infections such as colds sore. Zinc is also helpful when you have cold sores and feel them on your lips and face. It will reduce the time of infection and will help you to get rid of cold sores as soon as possible.



Foods that contain high amounts of Zinc

As we mentioned earlier, this nutrient is a very helpful compound in treating and healing herpes simplex infection.

You can intake the required amounts of zinc by adding the following items to your daily diet:

– Seafood

– Pumpkin seeds

– Dairy products

– Beans and lentils

– Wholegrain cereals

– Legumes 

– Yeast products

Vitamin B complex

Stress is an influential factor that has a direct effect on the intensity of herpes that we experience. B vitamins can counteract the effects of stress on the body, so they are required to have a strong immune system. This group of vitamins is also helpful in positive thinking and reducing sleep disorders.

B vitamins are essential nutrients for many functions of the body. They are among the most effective compounds in empowering our immune system. Vitamin B helps us to think positively and feel happy, relaxed, and at ease, which is needed especially when cold sore outbreaks and we feel high stress.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another nutrient that is responsible for immune system function and is also necessary for skin. Vitamin E is a well-known vitamin that is subject to many studies, and it is one of the most researched ingredients in the skincare industry. Many studies on this vitamin show its effectiveness in healing wounds, lesions, ulceration, and scar tissue.

Vitamin E is among compounds that are helpful in cold sore treatment. It helps the skin to have a powerful performance to recover itself. To avoid various kinds of skin problems, we should use a daily recommended intake of this vitamin. It could be found both naturally in many foods, and also could be used in the supplementary form.

Vitamin E


Probiotics bacteria are effective in reducing the activity of viruses and may have antiviral properties. This provides an alternative treatment that researchers trying to find for drug-resistant versions of herpes simplex viruses.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

According to a recent study, probiotics have an obvious impact on the activity of this virus and would be effective in reducing their speed and replication. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22552453/) Probiotics also help our immune system to have a better function toward various kinds of viral infections.

By adding probiotics to your daily diet, you will gain their benefits for your immune system, which helps you to prevent HSV. It is also helpful in healing this illness. Probiotics are currently under more research about their function against viral infections.

They could be used as an alternative treatment for those cases who are resistant to drugs and medicines. This makes it a great option to provide the next generation of drugs for herpes simplex virus.

However, probiotics are under more studies and the results of these studies will offer new types of drugs and medicines that would be helpful against hard cases of cold sores.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Other conditions that look like a cold sore

A cold sore that is a result of the herpes simplex virus outbreak is one of many skin diseases that can suffer patients. Several kinds of other illnesses would cause similar symptoms.

The following diseases offer symptoms that are very similar to the cold sore:

– Scrapes

– Razor burns


– Impetigo

– Angular stomatitis

– Canker sores

Many of these symptoms are known problems that you might confuse with cold sore when seeing someone with these symptoms, but you can simply identify them from herpes simplex if you get them. But some symptoms are very similar to the cold sore, such as angular stomatitis and canker sores.

Angular stomatitis VS Cold Sore

Angular stomatitis is a mouth infection that causes inflammation, cracking or irritation at the corners of the mouth. It is different from herpes simplex in that it infects corners of the lips, and not upper ou lower lip, where cold sore typically outbreak.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Angular stomatitis is not a contagious infection and could be an initial sign of anemia or vitamin deficiency. Thus, if you feel symptoms of a cold sore around the corners of your mouth and not on your lips, there is a high chance that it is angular stomatitis and not a cold sore. You should visit a doctor to find a way to treat this disease.

Canker Sore Vs Cold Sore

Another oral infection that is highly similar to the cold sore is canker sore that has different causes. Canker sore is also a disease that its cause is not yet fully understood. If you confuse canker sore with the cold sore, the cold sore treatment would not be effective. However, this condition occurs only in the soft tissues of the mouth, like on the gums or inside the cheeks. A variety of factors can cause them, including inside mouth injuries and vitamin deficiencies.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Canker sores occur only inside the mouth, unlike cold sores that can occur inside or outside the mouth, on the face.

To identify canker sores, you should know that they can be found in the following areas:

– Gums

– Inside your lips or cheeks

– On your tongue or below it

– Soft palate

Just like a cold sore, in the first stages of canker sores, the patient will feel burning or tinging in her/his mouth. However, they have different areas of infection and various forms. Canker sores are typically oval or round, and they can appear to be white or yellow with a red border. They may also be large or small. Large ones are more painful and take longer to heal.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Canker Sore Causes

As we mentioned in the last section, despite similarities between these two oral diseases, they have different causes. As we saw in cold sore, it is an infection caused by herpes simplex virus, while canker sore isn’t a viral infection and also targets different parts of the mouth from those targeted by a cold sore. (https://www.healthline.com/health/canker-sore-vs-cold-sore#causes)

Canker Sore Causes

Some of the possible causes that can lead to canker sore are as the following:

– Injury to the inside of the mouth

– Nutrients deficiency such as vitamin B-12, iron, and folate

– Using toothpaste or mouthwashes containing sodium lauryl sulfate

– Stress

– Hormone change, such as in menstruation

– Reaction to foods like nuts, chocolate, or spicy foods

– Conditions that affect the immune system 

Canker sore treatment

As different causes are responsible for these mouth problems, different treatment procedures are available for them. As we mentioned earlier, cold sore treatment will help patients to reduce their symptoms and pain during its various stages.

Several types of treatment are present for the canker sores, too, including:

– OTC creams and gels to apply directly to sores. Those that contain active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, benzocaine, and fluocinonide, offer the best results. 

– Prescription mouthwashes containing dexamethasone, which can ease pain and swelling

– Stronger oral medications, such as steroid medications for when other treatments are not working 

– Cautery, to destroy or burn the canker sore using a chemical or instrument 

As we mentioned earlier, various underlying causes could lead to the canker sore, thus, your doctor should also try to heal these underlying causes.

General Recommendations

As we mentioned earlier, there is no cure for the herpes simplex virus currently. However, various types of treatments are available to reduce their symptoms and relieve their pain. The patients should try these cold sore treatments as soon as they understand they get a cold sore. At this initial phase, they can use various types of treatments to avoid the larger size of blisters. If they start at the very first stage of infection, they can control the problem and reduce its effects on their body. Thus, the following instructions are recommended.

Start treatment as soon as possible

It is important to start treatment as soon as possible. When you feel tingling around your mouth, you can start rubbing ointment or compress it with ice. As we discussed earlier, ice will help to freeze the virus and slow down its replication. Ice is one of the main remedies and treatments that one should undergo including other remedies.

As you know, herpes simplex has 5 different stages or phases that come each after another. If the patient starts the treatment in stage 1, the total blisters and the size of the infected area could be lowered. Thus, if you don’t want a cold sore to cover one side of your mouth, simply as soon as feeling tingling in your mouth, start the treatment.

Don’t touch, and Wash your hands!

Cold sore or herpes simplex is a contagious virus that can easily spread between people. It can also travel in the body and go from one part of the body to other parts, or remain latent. As a general rule, it is recommended to avoid touching infected areas. That clear liquid under your blisters is HSV and easily can infect other parts of your body or even other people.

Thus don’t touch it, and if unconsciously touched it, simply try to wash your hand with soap carefully. It is also recommended to use water to wash your cold sore, because it may absorb bacteria that will cause worse infections.Cold sore treatment | how to get read of cold sore quickly

Avoid intimate contacts

Like a contagious virus, herpes simplex can easily spread between people, and intimate contacts, such as kissing, oral sex, or touching the virus can cause the illness. Thus, if you have a cold sore, don’t make close or intimate contact with others. As we mentioned earlier, in many cases the virus will remain latent and does not cause sores, thus, you can touch an infected person without seeing any symptoms, and get the virus.

If you have a cold sore, don’t make contact with others till the healing. You should also avoid touching other parts of your body, especially your eye and genital. If you have a partner or friends with a cold sore, simply try to keep your distance from them while they are fighting the herpes simplex virus.

Last Words

Herpes simplex virus is the cause of cold sore outbreaks. This virus does not have any cure yet, but various kinds of treatments are available to reduce its effects and the time of activity.

These treatments include different types ranging from ice compress to medical pills and various kinds of foods containing ingredients that are helpful to relieve this illness.

These treatments would be most effective if used as soon as possible, before the formation of blisters, because at this stage it is possible to reduce the size of the infected area. Cold sore treatment is a process that takes 1 to 2 weeks, and it would long less if you start treatment as soon as you can get the first signs.

A cold sore is not a dangerous condition by itself, but it can lead to dangerous and risky conditions if not treated properly. It can travel to various parts of the body, including the finger, eye, and even brain, which can lead to death, or blindness.

Thus, it is important to try treating this illness before becoming a more complicated problem. As you know, treating at the first stages can be more effective and would lead to faster treatment.


How do I get rid of a cold sore overnight?

You cannot get rid of a cold sore overnight. You cannot get rid of cold sores overnight. There is no cure for cold sores. However, to speed up the healing time of a cold sore, you can consult with your doctor and take prescription medications such as antiviral tablets and creams.

Can you get a cold sore immediately?

Cold Sore Symptoms

You may get cold sores as late as 20 days after you're infected. The sore might appear near where the virus entered your body. Cold sores happen in stages: You have a tingling, burning, or itching feeling.

Can I put toothpaste on a cold sore?

Fresh from the dentist. It may have a sting in its tail, but a dab of toothpaste will dry out a cold sore. And if yours contains baking soda, even better. This white paste flattens the blister on contact and helps it heal faster.

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