Cold Sore Treatment and Refills
Cold sores appear on and around your lips. If you’ve got a cold sore situation, calling in a prescription medicine can reduce how long your cold sore situation lasts.
- Cold Sores infect more than half of the U.S. population by the time they reach their 20s.
- 10 out of 100 people who have cold sores get them more than five times a year.
- More than 3 billion people under the age of 50 have the cold sore virus.
What is a cold sore?
Cold sores are painful and annoying red blisters that visibly swell up on or around the mouth. These sores are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2. HSV type 1 is the most common cause of cold sores.
Cold sores like to pop up in the same place every time because the virus lives in the nerves where the previous infection occurred.
Once you are infected with HSV, you have the infection permanently. The virus rests inside the nerves showing no symptoms and flares up periodically causing more cold sores. The virus does not go away because certain molecules help the cold sore virus stay inactive and protected from the immune system to flush it out.
We offer treatment options for immediate relief and preventative care.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 occur around the mouth or face. HSV type 2 typically causes genital herpes, but it can also cause cold sores. Genital herpes affects the genitals or anus.
Herpes can infect the eyes, skin, or other parts of the body, but these are somewhat rare.
Do cold sores mean you have an STD?
The common cold sore is not an STD and the vast majority of HSV type 1 flare up through non-sexual activity. However, there are risks associated with saliva passing along the virus during oral sex if the person already has HSV type 1 or type 2 (aka genital herpes).
What can trigger a cold sore?
Certain things can trigger an outbreak, including:
- Stress can weaken the immune system allowing the HSV cold sore to flare up.
- Cold sores often develop with a fever or cold, which is why the sores are sometimes called fever blisters.
- Sunburn or damage to the lips, such as a scratch, rash.
- Hormonal changes, imbalances or menstruation.
- Dental work or cosmetic surgery
What are the signs and symptoms of a cold sore?
Most of the time, cold sores will pass through several stages. The first signs will be:
- Tingling: On the first day, the area around the cold sore begin to tingle or burn.
- Redness: After 2 days, a cold sore breakout may start with the appearance of redness around the infection.
- Bumps: After redness begins, swelling can turn into visible bumps in small clusters.
- Blisters: If worsening, blistering may begin to fill with fluid that can burst into painful open sores as it comes in contact with open air.
- Scabs: After a week without medication, scabbing and spread starts to worsen. Fluid and open cold sores start to crust and scab causing skin irritation, itching, pain and potiental for more cold sores spread.
- Redness: After the cold sore scabs and falls off, the area is left tender with slightly red infected skin exposed.
Worsening conditions can show as:
- Burning and pain inside your mouth
- Sore throat
- Pain when swallowing
- Upset stomach
How to start immediate or preventive cold sore treatment?
A quick online search for top ways to get rid of a cold sore will gave you a laundry list of home remedies or over-the-counter options. Because this is a virus that does not go away, oral hygiene or lip moisturizing are the best option for protection while prescription medication is considered the best option to stop, control and rid the virus from flaring up altogether.
Some may find short term relief from:
- Cold, damp compresses
- Anti-inflammatory medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- Numbing creams like benzocaine or lidocaine
- The use of alcohol to dry out the blisters
- Lip balms and creams to keep moisture in
- Over the counter medications (like docosanol (Abreva)) can help alleviate discomfort for a period but require repeated dosing over several days, which could become pricey.
Oral prescription medication
Whether you’re looking for immediate relief or daily prevention or suppression treatment, the medication is the same, it just depends on the dose prescribed by our MyCare provider.
If you’ve got a cold sore outbreak right now then prescription-strength cold sore medicine can reduce how long your cold sore will last.
Cold sore Medications like valacyclovir (Valtrex), acyclovir (Sitavig, Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), penciclovir (Denavir) interfere with the herpes virus’ ability to replicate itself. Taking prescription medication is proven and effective in stopping outbreaks of cold sores.
Using medication early when signs of a cold sore begin can speed up recovery time, typically within one day. Medication reduces the risk of spreading and from future cold sores from flaring up.
Our MyCare providers will evaluate your symptoms and the history of your condition. They will ask you how long you’ve had the cold sore, any medications you are taking, what skin products you are using, and if you have a family history of common ailments that trigger cold sores. From there, they can make recommendations on how to improve your cold sore and write prescriptions if needed.