Patient Comments: Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores) - Treatments


What treatment has been effective for your cold sores? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Mrs. Gibson, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 28

I have been getting cold sores since I was about 5. However, as I've grown older, my outbreaks are less and less frequent, occurring now only with prolonged stress or extensive dental work. Over the years, I've learned if, at the first sign (itch) of a cold sore, I keep the area completely dry, the outbreak is generally thwarted or minimized and never fully develops. If, however, I use any sort of lip balm, cream, or other wet treatment, not only do the sores occur, but they spread.

Comment from: Annettedflores, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 03

My husband has suffered from cold sores since he was 16. First he gets a tingle followed by fever, body aches and an explosion of blisters that last for two weeks. My mother told me to apply Campho Phenique. He applies it at first sign of a tingle and it is crusting and healing within 2 days. Make sure to bleach cups, tooth brushes and towels during an outbreak. In an emergency 2 times a day also helps.

Comment from: Sarah, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 02

I have very few cold sores now. The most important thing is to eat less arginine containing foods (I stopped virtually all chocolate) and eat more lysine containing foods. If I get a cold sore it is milder and I go straight on to lysine tablets and they work far better than antiviral medicines. Try it, you will be surprised how well it works.

Comment from: Lilbit, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 04

Lysine! For fever blisters on lips or face and canker sores get lysine. Get it anywhere that sells vitamins. Take 1 a day and you will have them no more. It worked for my dad, my son, and myself. Awesome.

Comment from: Al A., Female Published: September 16

I started having night sweat and minor high temperature a few months ago and continued to go to urinate and did not know what was wrong. I went to the doctor, he checked me up and the urine test came negative and PSA was 6.1. So I was treated for enlarged prostate with Flomax which did not work for me. After a few weeks I had painful ejaculations and pain in the prostate. I was diagnosed with prostatitis. I was on Cipro for 4 weeks and things are now improving. Keep your healthy diet, drink a lot of water, and make sure your rectum is clean with no hemorrhoids because this can enlarge your prostate.

Comment from: Bishop, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 20

I have always been very active until adult onset asthma which limited my ability to walk even short distances without losing my breath. We were on vacation and went to a show where we sat for about 2 hours. When I got up to leave we started walking and I was losing my breath, a numbness started at the back of my neck and a dull ache went down my arms, across my upper back and around to my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack. I found some place to sit down and after about 20 minutes it was better. Since then it has happened several times after changing a position, or a chair. An x-ray said it was arthritis in the spine, spinal stenosis, and bone spur. I did some treatments with a physical therapist and it felt better for a period of time but it is starting again. Even going from the car into the church and sitting down sets it off again.

Comment from: stager, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I noticed a little skin colored nodule on my calf and didn't think anything of it. Within 3 months, it grew to a quarter of an inch and looked like a weird wart. I went to my dermatologist to have it removed. She immediately recognized it as a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). It was removed by excision. Lab confirmed it was free of any cancer cells. It was invasive, but had not grown deep. When I went for my 6 month check, there was a basal cell carcinoma on the shin of my other calf. She froze it, and it healed with no problem. Next 6 month check should be in March, but went in December 21st with a spot on my left forearm that didn't look right to me. Biopsy confirmed it is squamous cell carcinoma. Two days after biopsy on arm was done, I noticed another place that came up on the same arm just a few inches from the SCC. I feel certain it is SCC. I will have confirmed SCC removed in January. I will do biopsy of newest spot on the same forearm at the same time. I just hope that finding these cancers early and having them removed will be all that is necessary.

Comment from: Srb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

L-Lysine has worked wonders for me for cold sores! It's available in the supplement section of just about any grocery store and inexpensive. I take 1000 mg 3 to 5 times per day if I develop a cold sore or blisters. It keeps them from getting worse. Apple cider vinegar (raw/with the 'mother' in it) on a cotton swab a few times a day for 20 minutes or Abreva work for me to quickly get rid of what is there. If I'm able to take my first dose immediately when I feel the itch it usually doesn't even morph into anything. Lysine works by blocking the virus from traveling along the nerve, stopping it in its place so it doesn't reach the skin.


Cold Sores Causes, Remedies, & Diagnosis See Slideshow
Comment from: RichK, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 12

I have been getting cold sores since 8th grade, some 47 years ago, so I have a lot of experience treating this tenacious and insidious virus. The two keys are prevention and immediate action. I take (2) Valacyclovir (Valtrex) 500MG tablets twice a day along with at least 500MG of Lysine. (I have done this for years and unfortunately, it does not eliminate the virus forever.) I also use a 15 SPF sunscreen lip balm every time I go out during daylight. As soon as I feel the tingle of a new outbreak, I immediately apply Abreva, which you can buy over the counter, or Denavir (penciclovir), which requires a prescription, every two hours. I always have a tube in my pocket because if I catch it in the first few minutes, I am usually successful in preventing a full scale outbreak. If I feel that I have not caught it in time, I bring out the big guns and take 2,000MG (2 grams) of Valtrex and another 2 grams twelve hours later. Once an eruption has occurred, it is usually too late and the above treatments will reduce the duration, but not by much. Hope this helps.

Comment from: ACE, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I have had cold sores for 11 years now. I find that L-lysine vitamins either 1,000mg or 500mg are the most effective treatment when you can't always afford to go to the doctor or get a prescription. I try to take at least one tablet which is 1,000mg every day and usually that prevents an outbreak. If I do get an outbreak I will take 4 to 5 tablets a day and it usually clears up 80 percent faster. There is also an over the counter L-lysine lip ointment that works wonders in preventing and healing this annoying virus. I have dealt with this for almost 12 years now and I only take the vitamins and never have to get the prescription medications. I suggest this to anyone that is dealing with an outbreak or just as a preventative measure. You can get the vitamins at any store. I prefer the GNC 1,000mg L-Lysine vitamins and the Lip Ointment.

Comment from: beeper37, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 29

Yesterday I realized that I felt like I was getting a cold sore on my lip. I woke up this morning and I had four rather large cold sores. I went to the doctor and he told me it was stress causing the cold sores. I was given Zovirax and I hope it works. It looks awful and I do not even want to leave the house. How long do they ask to go away. They are painful for sure. Was supposed to go out tonight but not looking like this.

Published: February 17

I have been getting cold sores since I was about 20. I do not get them very often sometimes i can go a year without one and sometimes I get a few throughout the year. I haven’t had any luck with any of the medical treatments available, however I have found that applying ice to the first sign of the blister will reduce the swelling that occurs. Coupling regular applications of ice to the blister with drinking as much water as I can stomach greatly reduces the size of the blister that ensues to a barely noticeable size and reduces the duration of them to approx. 5 days. Prior to this regiment I would use otc medications this only proved to increase the amount of time the blister would be evident as well as increase the noticeability of the blister. I found that doing nothing at all has worked better than using the topical creams one can get otc. I am currently experiencing having a sore on my upper lip I have been applying ice and drinking as much water as possible and nobody at work or home has asked that dreaded question, ''what's that on your lip?'' I can barely noticed it myself if it weren’t for that I can feel it there.

Comment from: jeanne, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

Simplex F by Standard Process has been the best treatment I have ever used for cold sores. Take 2 at the first 'tingle' and one every hour until the sensation dissipates or the blister shrinks. If you catch it right away, the blister never appears. If you start after the blister appears, it is dry in 2 days. Use a good healing lip balm after (containing aloe) and your lips are as good as new in a week. I heard about this from others after trying everything listed in this article, I thought it couldn't hurt. The results are amazing!

Comment from: anonymous24, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I usually just pass through these discussions but today I feel I found a perfect counter to a fever blister so I'll share I've been getting cold sores since I was a kid once a year before or after I get sick without fail. Going in public was embarrassing but I had to tough it out every year. And they lasted 2 weeks Now I'm 24 and I found the solution to the embarrassment wear a regular filter mask the whole time during the outbreak and it’s going to hardly bother.

Comment from: john the trom, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 01

I first started suffering cold sores during the winter when I was about 12. I now play the trombone and have frequent attacks of cold sores around the base of my nostrils probably caused by the vibrations from the instrument. Usually, it is preceded by a tingling sensation. I used to use acyclovir cream with great success but more recently my doctor prescribed acyclovir tablets, which work extremely well as long as you catch the infection in time.

Comment from: sb, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 15

There is a new treatment for cold sores named Sitavig containing acyclovir. You can ask your dermatologist about it.


Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections) See more pictures of cold sores and other oral health conditions See Images
Comment from: leebee, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 25

I have been getting fever blisters/cold sores for as long as I can remember. I can't wear lipstick, Chap Stick, or lip gloss because if I do, the next day a fever blister is there to greet me in the mirror in the morning. About 4 years ago I started getting them on my chest, on a much bigger scale. I just came back from vacation and I have one in between my nose and my lip, one in the middle of my bottom lip and one on my chest. I always just pop the bubbles and put antibiotic ointment on it. I don't know if it is the right thing to do but it is better than having gigantic pus filled blisters on my face. They burn and itch mercilessly, I am beyond tired of getting these things. I need to find some sort of treatment because they keep getting worse.

Comment from: BeeGee, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I am an 82 yr. old woman and had never had a cold sore in my whole life until I had the Shingle vaccine last Dec. 2012, since then I have had three outbreaks. I do take valacyclovir prescribed by my physician. This medication is also given to people who have shingles. I do believe that my problem was caused by the shingles vaccine.

Comment from: Bg, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 08

I have gotten cold sores all my life. I have tried about everything imaginable to cure them. About 10 years ago, as I was getting divorced and had lots of stress, I got a rather severe outbreak that sent me to my doctor. He prescribed a drug called Famvir, which is given to folks with genital herpes. Reluctantly I picked up my script (wondering what the pharmacist was thinking about me), and tried this drug. It has worked wonderfully, and if taken when I get the first feeling of a hot spot on my lip, will cut the duration to three days or less!

Comment from: Johnny A, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 30

Rubbing garlic on the sore and eating garlic has helped me keep the herpes outbreak from recurring. Look it up. It really does work.

Comment from: EK, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 29

As soon as it appeared I pressed my wet aluminum sulfate pencil on it for a few seconds every half hour on the first day and few times the second day. This stops it from getting worse, and starts to heal in a few days. It helps a lot.

Comment from: Mpete, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I've gotten coldsores since I was in high school, and I'm not sixty-four. I get them most often on my lip. Sometimes they're as big as a ping pong ball in which case I miss work, as my upper lip hangs over my lower. Yes, I'm a site to see. The only thing that works for me is to catch them early, right at the first tingle. I prefer Zovirax blue capsules. I usually take two right away and then take them on schedule but for just two or three days. This regimen works for me. As well, I have to avoid hot sauces, lemons, red wine and coffee. Yogurt, even rubbed on the cold sore, seems to help, as does the Zovirax ointment. I also heard that holding an ice cube to my sore helped so I tried it, and it did reduce the swelling. Ointments and over-the-counter products only seem to make my cold sores worse, as does lysine. My most recent outbreak occurred after eating very hot mustard at a chinese restaurant.

Comment from: outrageous, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 06

I find the Zovirax ointment works well. I did try Acyclovir 200mg, but find the ointment works best for me.

Comment from: higrob1, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 03

I heard a medical doctor on Chicago News Radio say that taking a small dose of acyclovir once a day for a year might prevent having a cold sore for the rest of your life. I used to get terrible outbreaks about four times a year. My personal physician said that she saw no problem with prescribing the acyclovir and did. Guess what? I am overjoyed that I haven't had a cold sore in 15 years!

Comment from: 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: June 29

I am 17 and have gotten horrid canker sores on my tongue every two months for more than eight years. In the fourth grade I started getting them, which made it almost impossible to want to eat, talk, or play my trumpet. They last for more than two weeks usually and are only on my tongue. I suffer as I write this.

Comment from: 25-34 Published: June 29

I first began to suffer from cold sores when I was in my early 20's. I suffered from a horrible fever and my lower lip broke out in blisters. It spread to my upper lip, and I felt so disgusted by it. It was a horrible feeling. Ever since then, I have two or three episodes per year. However, as soon as I feel the tingly feeling, I take Valtrex (yes, the genital herpes medicine). I take that for about five days. The cold sore still appears; however, it is small in size, and it goes away between three to four days. You can barely see it once you put makeup over it.


An average adult has about ________ square feet of skin. See Answer
Comment from: buny21, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 09

I came home as a baby with a bad scratch across my nose from a nurse. Later as I was growing up every time I had a cold or sun burn my nose would flare up with these blisters and they would hurt. We never really knew what to call them. I was always safe about cleaning my hands and staying clear of others when they appeared. A doctor once gave me this cream that was to help "dry them up" when I broke out but all I ever noticed was that it spread them when the cream melted on my face. Now they sometimes rarely surface on my upper lip or even inside my nose. I honestly HATE calling it "herpes!" Seriously I’d rather just say "skin condition" because to me when I think herpes, I think genital herpes. I wish they'd name it something else since it has to do with the face.

Comment from: higrob1, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 11

Another poster mentioned acyclovir tablets and I will say that they were the only solution for me. Nothing else worked, but then my doctor told me that if I took a small dosage of acyclovir every day for a year I might never get another cold sore. And he said that he didn't see any problem with prescribing acyclovir. He did. That was about 17 years ago and I haven't gotten a cold sore since. I truly hope that this information helps others and am certain that it will.

Comment from: Koala, 45-54 Female Published: March 07

I have been getting cold sores on my lip for over 35 years. I used to use carmex, which did not do much good. Now I use Campho-Phenique. If I apply this to the cold sore at first sign the cold sore will last only a couple of days. I now get cold sores maybe once a year!! Big improvement!!! I also drink lots of water and keep my hands clean and away from my face. Since I have been drinking plenty of water and washing my hands several times a day I have not gotten sick within the last 2 1/2 years.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 24

When I started to shave downstairs, I would notice that I got a lot of "razor burn" Or "razor cuts". Little did I know it was actually the HSV. Since I have found out what exactly it was, I have been taking 1 Gram of valtrex a day and have not had a breakout since. Except for when I did not have the medication.

Comment from: 55-64 Male Published: June 23

I have found that megadosing on vitamin C helped to dry up the blisters. It also reduces the time the infection is active. I take 3000 mg 2 x day and the blisters dry up on a couple of days and the time it takes to heal up is reduced by at least a week to 10 days.

Comment from: Lucky, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 17

When the blisters first came out in my 40's, I was devastated. Still I am but now the outbreaks are so infrequent. Years ago a relative told me about L-Lysine, an amino acid that helps with skin rashes and such. Before taking L-Lysine every day, I could get 3 outbreaks a years and now I can go years between outbreaks. Try it, but PLEASE talk to your doctor before making it part of your daily regime. According to some, it’s not something that should be taken every day.

Comment from: Red, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 12

I have suffered from "cold sores" for as long as I can remember. Various reasons through the years; period, stress, sun, nerves, colds, fevers you name it! At age 59 I had a very mild case of "Herpes Zoster", thank goodness. I am an avid gardener-so-now I get cold sores from the sun exposure, I use SPF 30 lip treatment,while out in sun- Zovirax ointment (after the sores show up), anything I can think of to get rid of faster! Help! I really do not want to take a pill long term.

Comment from: Argos, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 11

I inherited HSV1, and dealt with cold sores whenever stressed, fatigued, or too much sun. Using SPF 30 chapstick will help with exposure activation. Also, Releev works great if applied when tingling starts. Please manage your stress and get proper rest, or this stuff can get worse. 20 years ago, I got slammed with multiple ulcers in my mouth and on my tongue. Crazy, constant pain, and very little you can eat for 3-4 days. It happened during a tough life transition and my immune system must have been low. Lifestyle management and Valtrex are the prevention for this torture.

Comment from: T.Y., 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I'm 14 years old and have been getting cold sores for years. I get many of them at a time, sometimes even 10 (like now, but only on my bottom lip). I use Abreva five times a day as well as washing them. The main reason for mine is because I don't eat meat and don't have enough B12, so I take B12 pills and that makes a big difference.

Comment from: Georgia Girl, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 29

I've had fever blisters since elementary school, and my mom said she had them when she was young as well. Sun exposure, extreme cold, and stress seem to be my triggers. Carmex brand chapstick (has to have SPF 15 and be in stick form) ALWAYS keeps me from getting them. If I slip up and get one, Carmex numbs the pain (with the menthol), keeps the blister moist and flexible (so no splitting), and speeds up healing substantially. Carmex is my best friend … and it's cheap! I've yet to find a sunscreen chapstick that works at all, much less as good as Carmex.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I have found success treating my herpes simplex infection with Tea Tree Oil applied with a Q-tip.

Comment from: how do i get a date now!, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I worked hard my whole life to NOT get cold sores (HSV 1). I would not share cigarettes and would NOT kiss those who had had them. Guess what, now I have them and YES, I was one of those people who stigmatized cold sores in the past. How ironic! What’s the message of my story? Don’t ever share chap stick/cigarettes/drinks with anyone- EVEN WITH A LOVER/SEXUAL PARTNER. Not even your grandmother!! Relationships end but responsibility does not. I take the same precautions today as in the past, but now it’s to protect others rather than myself.