Patient Portal

Medical Records

Treating Cold Sores and Other Symptoms of Herpes

Dealing with cold sores is no happy occasion. From painful to unsightly, there are plenty of reasons to treat cold sores and herpes symptoms as soon as possible. First, let’s understand what we’re dealing with.

Understanding Cold Sores and Herpes

Most people will tell you that cold sores and herpes are the same thing. Technically speaking, cold sores are “fluid-filled blisters on and around your lips.” These blisters are a result of the presence of a herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). There is, however, a second strand of herpes that affects the genitals (HSV-2). For the sake of this article, let’s focus on HSV-1. Cold sores are highly contagious and are spread via close contact. This includes kissing, sharing drinks or lip balms, and oral sex. There is no cure for either of the HSV infections. Yet, the symptoms can be treated.


1) Itching and Burning – Oftentimes, before a cold sore appears, the lip may burn, itch or tingle.

2) Blistering – The most noticeable symptom of cold sores are the bright red blisters that seem to line the lip. These blisters may be sore to the touch and may also appear near the nose and cheeks.

3) Burning of Blisters – If the pain and itching weren’t enough, the blisters may leak or burst to leave an open sore that may eventually crust over.

How to Treat Cold Sores

Keep in mind that there is no cure for herpes, but it will typically fade on its own in two to four weeks. In the meantime, you can treat the symptoms and speed up healing.

Treating With Antiviral Medication

Whether you use pills or topical creams, you can rely on medication to shorten the healing time and alleviate pain. To treat the infection itself, doctors often prescribe acyclovir, a drug that lessens the severity of the infection and possibly shortens the duration of the outbreak. The medicated cream, on the other hand, lessens the severity of immediate symptoms like itching and burning. If applied numerous times a day, it may also shorten the duration of the outbreak.

Treating With Home Remedies

Given that cold sores will go away without medical treatment, it’s no surprise that there are a few home remedies you can dabble with to give you some peace of mind. While none of these have been scientifically tested, they are options you may want to carefully consider:

  • Cool compress on the sore
  • Essential oil with a cool compress
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Apple cider vinegar

These remedies are by no means a solution and you should be fully aware of the risks before testing any of these products on your cold sore. Also, remember to avoid putting these products directly on the sore as it may cause burning or possible infections.

As previously stated, cold sores will fade over time. However, if you truly want to speed things up and you live in or around Cincinnati, Ohio, contact our experts today at The Dermatology Group to see which option best suits you.

Was this helpful?

We would love to meet you and get started on a solution!