How to Get Rid of Cold Sores Fast

As a general rule,  cold sore or herpes simplex is just a cosmetic annoyance, that can cause outbreaks during stressful times. Mostly they do not cause harm, however,  if your immuno-compromised or have a new born baby, you need to take extra care around people with coldsores.

You may get an outbreak of cold sores due to a number of causes, including: 

  • If you have a  fever
  • Have a viral or bacterial infection
  • Are menstruating
  • Have recently been sunburnt
  • Are immuno-compromised, this may include if you take Immuno-sepressent medication
  • Are stressed and burnout


Background on cold sores

How to get rid of coldsores

Cold sores are a group of small, painful blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and area also known as fever blisters or cold sores. This virus causes ulcerative and vescular lesions in adults that are quite mild.

However, in people with suppressed immune systems and new babies can cause severe symptoms and make them very unwellOpens in a new tab.. If you suspect your child has an herpies infection, is lethargic and generally unwell please see your health care professional as soon as possible.

Women are more likely to have a herpes simplex virus infection, with 25.6% being infected, compared with men at 17.8%.Opens in a new tab.

Dr. Donald Brown, a primary care physician at the Houston Methodist Church, said: “The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores is extremely contagious, and infection with this virus is very common.” “In fact, more than 50% of adults in the U.S.Opens in a new tab. are infected with the type of herpes virus that most commonly causes cold sores. But interestingly, most people infected with this virus never show symptoms.”

Although the figures are different in relation to rates of infections, there is no doubt that this virus is extremely contagious.

Cold sores

They are a pain. They are ugly. They are Annoying. Cold sores always seem to develop at the worst times and often in times of stress or burnout (even before a wedding!)

This virus can spread from person to person through close contact (such as kissing). However, the virus can also spread by sharing:  

  • Cosmetics such as lipstick
  • Food and drinks
  • Utensils
  • Toothbrushes
  • Towels
  • Cutlery and water glasses

If you have a cold soreOpens in a new tab., you will know these signs. The first is tingling, and then the edges or corners of the lips or mouthOpens in a new tab. begin to burn. Then it burst: and a nasty little sore appears.

A few days later, it will crack and a scab will form. It takes a week or two for the scab to fall away with the nice healed skin underneath

Cold sores or fever blistersOpens in a new tab. are caused by viruses and cannot be cured. When you feel that tingling feeling, you’ll want to get rid of it quickly.

  • There are things you can do at home to ease the painOpens in a new tab. and make a cold sore look better as it heals, from using ice cubes or aloe vera to using pain relievers in the  medicationOpens in a new tab. cabinet.
  • Cold sores can be a huge nuisance. Not only do they look ugly, but they are also annoying, and often carry harmful social stigmas that affect everything from career to dating.
  • Fortunately, cold sores are easy to treat. In most cases, they will heal on their own in a couple of weeks. However, if you want to get rid of a cold sore faster than this, you can use a variety of things you can do to speed up the healing process.
  • We have listed below some of the most effective ways to eliminate cold sores and why they appear in the first place.


How to heal a coldsore

Cold sores give you a warning sign they are about to develop. That tingling sensation that occurs when they are forming gives a good warning sign they are about to break out.

More often than not, cold sores will go through a few phases. During the main stage, you’ll notice a tingling sensation around the lips in the area of breakout.

This is typically the time that the cold sore is replicating ,and is the best opportunity to begin taking Valacyclovir to stop the virus in its tracks!

ValacyclovirOpens in a new tab. is best as a treatment when you use it right off the bat during the time spent a cold sore creating before it’s had the opportunity to form into a blister.

If you don’t have access to, or take Valacyclovir during the intial stages of tingling, there are some things you can do to help heal the area faster.

Act quickly and apply zovirax

  • An effective way to treat cold soresOpens in a new tab. and help them heal faster is to apply Zovirax as soon as you feel the familiar tingling and/or redness on your lips.
  • Abreva can go to work immediately by softening the contact and shortening the duration of cold sore pain, itching, burning, and tingling.
  • Clinically proven that Abreva can shorten cold sore healing time.

Apply a cold compress

  • Placing a cool wet towel on the cold sore can help reduce pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Cold compresses 3 times a day for 10 minutes each to help relieve redness, swelling and pain

Reduce the pain from the cold sore

  • If your experiencing pain that is not tolerable, you can take a mild analgesia to help.

Avoid hot beverages and foods that are salty, spicy or acidic

Ø  Do yourself a favor and stay away from foods that can irritate cold sores. Pretzels, curry, hot sauce, or citrus fruits can exacerbate cold sores and make the pain worse.

Ø  The acids contained in tomatoes and citrus fruits (such as oranges) can irritate the skin.

Ø  However, many of these egg art fruits also contain vitamin C, which can increase the number of white blood cells to fight infection.

Ø  Instead, take pills containing vitamin C and let the body’s defenders fight for you.

Do not touch your cold sore

  • Keep your hands off that cold soreOpens in a new tab.. Resist the temptation as it can prolong the healing process or make it more irritating.
  • Remember that  cold sores are contagiousOpens in a new tab., so if you accidentally touch them, do not touch any other part of the body, especially the eyes.
  • Wash your hands as soon as possible to avoid reaching out to other places or other people.

How can I stop cold sores from forming/ How to prevent cold sores?

Treatment for cold sores to heal fast

Dr. Brown said: “Once a person is infected with the herpes simplex virus, they will be infected for life.” “After the cold sore has resolved, the virus is not actually cleared from your body. Instead, the virus moves back and hides in your nerves where it can lay dormant until there is a perfect time to infect you again.

So, what caused the virus to reactivate and cause an outbreak?

Outbreaks of cold sores may be caused by:

  • Fever
  • Illnesses, including colds
  • Menstruation
  • Pressure
  • Sunburn
  • Decrease in immunity
  • Stress and burnout

This virus is very smart, it lays dormant until it detects weakness and then will sprout again.

Stress is a major factor that can reduce your immune system.

Related post: Stress and immunity

If you find when your stress, that you have regular cold sore outbreaks, it is important to manage your stress by including stress-reducing strategies. Mindfulness practices have been shown to be very effective.

Related Post: Mindfulness

Why and How Cold Sores Develop

Before we get into some strategies to reducing your risk of cold sore breakouts, lets discuss why and how cold sores develop.

Cold sores are an indication of the herpes simplex infection (or HSV-1), which are common throughout society.  The World Wellbeing Association (WHO) stats that about two thirdsOpens in a new tab.  (roughly 67%) of the worldwide populace under age 50 have this virus in their systems. Some people may experience outbreaks, where some that are infected may not even know they have it.

Oral herpes spreads essentially through direct contact, for instance through kissing or coming into direct contact with someone who is shedding the virus. It can be transferred to a new host through sharing lip salve, lipstick, cups, and utensils.

While HSV-1 is incredibly normal and exceptionally infectious, numerous individuals never experience any cold sores. By and large, about 20% to 40% of individuals that have HSV-1 will get cold sores.

As mentioned earlier, when we speak of cold sores, we are taking about when the virus, HSV-1 infection becomes active while laying dormant in the body.Opens in a new tab.

Ordinarily, cold sore breakouts are set off by a particular occasion or condition, for example, stress or sickness. Probably the most widely recognized triggers for cold sore breakouts are:

  • Illness, for example, viral contaminations or potentially fever
    • Fatigue, depletion, or sleepiness
    • Excessive degrees of stress or tension
    • Damage to the lips, for example, a scratch, rash, or consume
    • Hormonal changes or awkward nature, for example, those that happen during the monthly cycle
    • Being out in the sun or wind

Not every person is influenced by cold sores, which means you may never encounter a flare-up regardless of whether you have the HSV-1 infection. A few people likewise become more safe to cold sore episodes over the long haul, which means flare-ups become less regular and serious.

Certain antiviral medications, including acyclovir and valaciclovir, can control flare-ups and reduce the outbreak severity, there is no cure.  

“HSV-2 is a deep-rooted and serious contamination that can cause intermittent and excruciating genital sores and can make those tainted with the infection a few times bound to procure HIV, the infection that causes Helps,” the CDC says on its website about herpesOpens in a new tab..

How to get rid of cold sores fast inside the mouth

In the event that you have a few blisters, your primary care physician may encourage a mouth flush containing the steroid dexamethasone to decrease inflammation and a lidocaine wash to reduce pain.  

To help diminish torment and speed recuperating, think about these tips:

  • Rinse your mouth. Use saltwater or preparing soft drink flush (disintegrate 1 teaspoon of heating soft drink in 1/2 cup warm water).
  • Dab a limited quantity of milk of magnesia on your infection a couple of times each day.
  • Avoid grating, acidic, or zesty food that can create additional irritation
  • Apply ice to your infection by permitting ice chips to gradually break down over the sores.
  • Brush your teeth delicately, use a soft brush

Cold sore risk factors

According to the Mayo Clinic, 90 per cent of adults worldwide test positive for the herpes simplex type 1 virus. Once you have the virus, certain risk factors may reactivate it, such as:

How to treat a cold sore on the nose?

  • If you notice the tingling feeling, act fast and see your local pharmacist for an antiviral. This may stop the sores from forming
    • If you already have developed the sores, keep them clean and dry
    • Do not touch or pick the sores as this can introduce bacteria causing further infection.

How long do cold sores last?

Cold sores should begin to mend inside 10 days, however, are infectious and might be bothering or excruciating while they recuperate.

How do you stop a cold sore when it starts?

Cold sores spread effectively from individual to individual. They can spread in any event, when somebody doesn’t have a functioning sore.

To help try not to spread the HSV infection, individuals can do the accompanying:

  • Avoid contacting, scratching, or picking at cold sores. Contacting them moves the infection to the hands, permitting it to spread to the fingers, eyes, and to others.
    • Wash their hands regularly. This can help keep the infection off the hands, thus from being spread.
    • Avoid sharing beverages, utensils, lip items, toothpaste, towels, or any things that may contact the mouth, particularly when a sore is present.  
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others when cold sores are available. This incorporates kissing, sexual contact, and physical games.

Can you Get Rid of Cold sore Forever?

There is no cure for cold sores, however, a few medicines may accelerate the mending cycle, ease vexatious side effects, and decrease their repeat. Taking antiviral prescriptions may accelerate mending time and lessen repeat rates. Your local doctor or pharmacists can direct you to the best product available in your region. 

What is the fastest way to dry up a cold sore?

If you are wanting to dry up your weeping cold sore, it is important to try and not to touch the area too much.

There are times where you wouldn’t want the cold sore to dry up, for instance, if it is in the middle of your lip where it is likely to crack and bleed when it dries up. In this case, paw paw ointment is fantastic for keeping the area protected and moist while it heals, preventing cracking and the potential for secondary infection.

If you are wanting to dry up your cold sore, keep it clean and your body will naturally dry up the cold sore.

Does toothpaste help cold sores?

Indeed, toothpaste helps cold sore, in that if you apply a small amount it may aid in helping to dry out your cold sore.  Although this a convenient and cheap method, there are better treatments out there that can help such as Zovirax.Opens in a new tab. [EM1] 

What is the Best Cold Sore Treatment?

As mentioned earlier in this article, an antiviral tablet is your first line of defence when you first start feeling a cold sore come on.

However, if it has been more than 48 hours since the onset of symptoms, using a topical cream or ointment can reduce the healing time. Zovirax is a good option and can help reduce healing times. If there is a cost factor involved, paw paw ointment is a good alternative as it protects the area and prevents cracking.

Lysine as a preventive of coldsores

Lysine is can be taken as a regular supplement to help the prevention of cold sores. If you find you get cold sores regularly, this might be a good option for you.


There are a few important factors when incorporating oral lysine into your daily routine:

Ensure you take the recommended dosage of 1g three times per day,Opens in a new tab. any less has been proven to be ineffective for the prevention of cold sore outbreaks.

  • Should be used with caution for people with heart or gallbladder problems.Opens in a new tab. If you have either of these conditions please consult with your health care professional prior to starting lysine.
  • People with asthma, immune dysfunction and impotence should also use this treatment with caution and consult with a medical practitioner prior to starting.


Emilie Masi
Registered Nurse
Clinical Nurse Consultant

Emilie MASI

Nurse Practitioner Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice Graduate Diploma of Wound Care Masters of Wound Care

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