Best Over-the-Counter Medicines for Cold Sore Treatment

Best Over-the-Counter Medicines for Cold Sore Treatment

If you get cold sores, you know the drill: an itchy, tingling feeling that becomes an unsightly blister within hours. (Of course, they usually grow at the worst minutes’ like just before an unique celebration, or on a trip.)

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex infection type 1, which is sent by skin-to-skin contact and might lie dormant for months,’ says Dr. Jaggi Rao, an Edmonton-based skin doctor and associate medical teacher of dermatology at the University of Alberta. But a break out can be activated by stress, a fever or even menstruation. And although cold sores can strike at any time of year, sunlight motivates flare-ups since UV direct exposure compromises the body immune system and allows the infection to multiply.

List of the Best Over-the-Counter Medicines for Cold Sore Treatment

Tetracaine cream (Viractin) and lidocaine (Zilactin-L) are topical anesthetics that can relieve the pain and itching of cold sores. These products are used to cold sores approximately 6 times a day for best results. Pain and itching are relieved typically within 2 to 3 days after an individual first uses the product. If your child is under 2 years of age, ask your doctor if you can offer your child numbing medications.

Docosanol 10% (Abreva) must be applied at the first signs of a cold sore outbreak. It is the first nonprescription cold sore medicine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to shorten recovery time and the period of symptoms.

Benzyl alcohol (Zilactin) is a gel that relieves the pain of cold sores and may help reduce healing time, especially if it is used as soon as a cold sore begins to form.

Dimethicone with sunscreen (Herpecin-L) is a product that hydrates your lips and safeguards them from the sun. This can help reduce the pain and itching of cold sores. It might likewise help avoid cold sores from returning.

While you can’t eliminate the infection’ once contracted, it hides in your system permanently’ you can assist prevent cold sores by using a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 lip balm to protect your lips and keep them wet. If you do have an outbreak, keep your hands off your face and clean them often, in order to avoid spreading out the infection to other parts of your body or to other people. ‘Don’t use lip products directly from the applicator, and don’t share utensils, cups or lip items till the site is totally healed,’ states Dr. David Zloty, a Vancouver-based skin doctor and scientific assistant professor of dermatology at the University of British Columbia.

Treating Cold Sores

Left unattended, the majority of cold sores last five to 10 days, but you can find relief for symptoms’ and in some cases accelerate recovery’ with over the counter treatments. We asked Rao, Zloty and Shakeel Bhatti, a pharmacist in Langley, B.C., and clinical instructor at the professors of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia, for their ideas.

1. To reduce period


Abreva or Lipactin Gel.

How they work

Abreva consists of a chemical called docosanol, which alters cell membranes. ‘It avoids the virus from going into cells, which successfully stops it from reproducing,’ says Bhatti. Lipactin consists of zinc and heparin and might have antiviral and antibacterial homes, states Zloty.

Need to understand

These topical solutions require a number of applications a day, and work best if you start at the first sign of a tingle, inflammation, bump, swelling or itch. If you start treatment with Abreva at this stage, you can lower the time it takes the sore to heal by almost 18 hours and shorten the period of symptoms. Lipactin also claims to accelerate recovery, but Zloty says there’s inadequate proof yet to determine how quickly it truly works.

2. To alleviate pain and itching


Viractin Gel, Zilactin Early Relief Cold Sore Gel or Zilactin-L Early Relief Cold Sore Liquid.

How they work

Viractin contains tetracaine, an anesthetic, while the active ingredient in Zilactin items is benzyl alcohol, a preservative that avoids bacteria from increasing and can aid with pain and itching, states Zloty.

Need to understand

‘ These treatments use symptom relief, but they will not truly help the recovery process,’ says Bhatti. So use them.
if your cold sore harms or is itchy, but do not anticipate them to reduce its period.

3. To prevent a break out or lower period


Obstruct CS Cold Sore Avoidance System (readily available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix shops) or Zeno CS (readily available at Shoppers Drug Mart).

How they work

These hand-held devices provide a low-level dose of heat when positioned in direct contact with a cold sore. Each Zeno treatment lasts four minutes, while the Intercept system needs just 30 seconds.

Need to understand

When used every 4 hours at the first sign of a fever blister, Zeno can prevent it from developing at all, says Rao, who headed medical trials on the product in 2015. Even if an outbreak takes place, it can cut recovery time in half, which Rao states is much faster than prescription oral antiviral treatments. Obstruct is suggested to prevent eruptions: It’s used at five-minute periods in the first 3 hours of early symptoms.

Prescription choices

The best treatments for cold sores are prescription antiviral representatives such as Zovirax (acyclovir), Valtrex (valacyclovir) and Famvir (famciclovir) taken orally, states Rao. ‘These ought to be ingested at the first proof that a cold sore is coming, and may decrease the duration by a day or two.’ Zloty says topical treatments such as Zovirax Cream or Denavir (penciclovir) are less reliable and can be laborious, because they require multiple applications daily over several days.

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