Cold sores are caused by the Herpes simplex virus. Cold sores appear as red or pink blisters around the mouth and nose, and they are highly contagious. Avoid touching the cold sores with your hands, and wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of the cold sore. You can use prescription and over-the-counter topical medications to get rid of your cold sore. When applied to the cold sore within an hour of an outbreak, cold sore medication can reduce your healing time by one to two days and decrease pain. Healing time for cold sores can last up to two weeks.
Take a multi-vitamin every morning. This will speed the healing process. Avoid eating foods that encourage the virus to spread and thrive; acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes and vinegar, and salty foods like potato chips and French fries shouldn't be eaten until the cold sore has healed.
Clean the cold sore several times a day with warm, soapy water; use an anti-bacterial soap. Soak a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and soak the cold sore with the soaked swab.
Rub an over-the-counter or prescription cold sore medication such as topical lidocaine or benzocaine to heal the cold sore. Apply these medications to the cold sore several times a day. You can also request an oral prescription for cold sores from a physician.
Place a cube of ice against the cold sore to control pain and help the cold sore go down; make sure any topical ointment has had a chance to dry into the skin. Rub ice against the sore every hour. The virus that causes cold sores can't duplicate in a cold environment.
Stay calm. Certain triggers such as stress and anxiety can trigger an outbreak of cold sores. The common cold and flu, and exposure to extreme hot or cold weather could also trigger outbreaks. Recognize what triggers cause your outbreaks, and avoid them.