Certain over-the-counter medicines enable fast healing of cold sores, and provide relief from the pain and irritation associated with them. Some of these have been outlined in the following article.
Cold sores or fever blisters are a manifestation of an infection with the herpes simplex virus type 1. These fluid-filled blisters mostly appear on the nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, eyelids, and fingers. Around 50-80% of the world’s population is affected with the herpes virus. However, not all of them experience an outbreak of such blisters.
Individuals who have had previous episodes of cold cores, may feel pain or a tingling sensation 1-2 days before the blisters appear. Generally, the sores persist for about 10-14 days, and heal on their own. However, professional consultation is necessary if the affected person has a weak immune system, the sores do not heal within 1-2 weeks, the sores recur frequently, or the symptoms are too severe to be tolerated, and the individual experiences irritation and pain in the eyes.
Treating Cold Sores With Over-the-counter (OTC) Medicines
OTC treatment generally serves to lessen the discomfort that arises from the cold sores. It may involve the use of topical medications or oral drugs. Common topical treatment includes Lidocaine, which is known to be effective in alleviating the pain for a short period. Also, Benzocaine (Zilactin) helps to deal with irritation, and prevents trauma to the blisters.
Some people may protect their sores from cracking and bleeding by using moisturizers like Abreva (Allotonin), Burt’s Bees Sunscreen, Herpecin-L Lip Balm, and Herpetrol. Medications such as Banadyne-3, Campho-phenizue, Orajel Multi-Action Medicine Gel, Viradent Gel, and Zilactin Cold Sore Gel and Liquid, serve to numb the area, thereby reducing the sensation of pain and irritation. OTC medications known as inhibitors work to hasten the recovery period. These include Lipreve, Penciclovir (Denavir), Viraderm, and Viroxyn.
Apart from the above OTC drugs for cold sores, oral antiviral medications are known to reduce the duration of the sores. They are known to be more effective when administered as soon as the symptoms set in. The commonly prescribed ones include Acyclovir (Zovirax), Famciclovir (Famvir), and Valacyclovir (Valtrex). These, however, may not be available as OTC drugs, and can only be obtained through prescription.
- When you notice an outbreak, press or rub some ice on the sores for about 3-8 minutes. Ice helps in slowing down the development of sores, and curbs rapid mobilization of the virus.
- Use of aloe vera extract on the sores, helps to reduce their size.
- Topical application of vitamin E provides relief from the associated pain.
- Applying cornstarch paste on the blisters, serves as an effective home remedy to deal with sores.
Cold sores usually do not require any specific treatment, and may not lead to any serious health concerns. However, if the symptoms are too severe to be tolerated, then you may seek appropriate consultation, and resort to suitable medication and remedies.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.