January 09, 2014

What To Do With A Cold Sore

Cold sores usually clear up without treatment.  In the meantime, the following steps may provide relief:  

Topical ointments:  lidocaine, or benzocaine (Zilactin) can help ease discomfort.  Benzocaine should not be used in children younger than 2 without a doctor's orders.  For adults, never use more than the recommended dose.  

Oral antiviral medications:  these may modestly shorten the duration of cold sores and decrease pain, if started very early.  They include: acyclovir (Zovirax), Famciclovir (Famvir), and Valacyclovir (Valtrex).  These may also be prescribed to prevent a recurrence of cold sores if you have frequent bouts of them, experience significant related illness during an outbreak or have an identifiable trigger of cold sore recurrences--such as intense sunlight--and you anticipate exposure to that trigger.  Over-the-counter pain relievers (aspirin, tylenol, advil) may also help.  Applying ice or warm compresses to the blisters may ease the pain.  

Most important:  let it heal without squeezing, pinching or picking at any blister.  

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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