The Cold Hard Facts: 5 Things to Know about Cold Sore Treatment and Prevention

The Cold Hard Facts: Cold Sore Treatments & Remedies

All you need to know about treating and preventing those embarrassing sores

By Marianne Pistilli, PA-C

What’s on your face? Anyone who has ever had a cold sore (also called fever blister) knows how painful and embarrassing these can be. But did you know that if a cold sore is treated promptly and properly, you can wipe it out in 24-48 hours?

Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus I. This is different from genital herpes (Herpes Simplex II). A cold sore may be preceded by a tingling pain and even a sore throat or swollen glands. The prevalence of the herpes virus I is about one in three in the United States. Cold sores can also appear on other areas of the face, even the nose! Here, 5 important facts to know about treating and preventing cold sores.

  1. There is no permanent cure – once you have the virus, you have it for life.
  2. If you have the virus, it can be stimulated by stress, sun, even laser treatments.
  3. Be sure to tell your doctor or medical professional before any treatments around the mouth.
  4. Cold sores are contagious – so avoid skin to skin contact with another person during an outbreak and don’t share utensils or straws.
  5. Wash and dry all clothing and bedding in hot water when you have a cold sore.

But don’t despair! There are two oral prescription medications and a few topical medications that knock it out in 1-2 days. However, it is imperative to get started as soon as possible. I tell my patients who know they have cold sores, to keep the medicine in the house and take it at the first sign of “tingling”. These prescription medications always work faster and are more effective than over the counter treatments or “natural” treatments. So, how do you get this magical medications? You must see your dermatologist or dermatology PA for a prescription. We encourage you to begin the medication at the earliest sign for the fastest resolution.

If you suspect you may have a cold sore, or you have had them in the past, make an appointment at Schweiger Dermatology. You will be on your way to having clear lips!

Marianne Pistilli, PA-C is a board certified physician’s assistant with over 11 years of experience in medical and cosmetic dermatology. Marianne sees patients from our Murray Hill and Midtown dermatology office locations.

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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