While cold sores on the lips will usually clear up on their own in a few days, if you absolutely have to be rid of them sooner, there are a number of ways to speed the process along.
Before even attempting medication, you may be inclined to try natural cures for cold sores. Drinking lots of water and other fluids, avoiding salty and acidic foods, avoiding contact with the sores and using a mouthwash instead of a toothbrush to clean your teeth can all be effective strategies to deal with cold sores.
Just be aware that natural remedies aren’t going to make it heal much faster. You are better off using some sort of medical treatment to actually get rid of the problem in a timely manner.
Because the cold sores are caused by a virus (herpes simplex virus), then an antiviral agent can be ideal for fighting it. The most common way to deal with this problem is by using topical antiviral creams. Aciclovir and penciclovir effectively treat recurring cold sores, reducing the potency of the virus. They won’t get rid of the virus, and they can only be used to treat cold sores.
These creams should be applied as soon as you first feel the cold sore developing. For those who have recurring sores, the actual appearance of one is preceded by a slight tingling sensation. It’s best to apply the cream right then to head off the cold sore before it fully develops.
Similar to antiviral creams, cold sore patches are applied directly to the affected area. This imitates the appearance of skin and covers up the actual sore. They help the sore to heal and protect it from further irritation. As with antiviral creams, they can only treat the cold sore and not the virus that causes them.
If the pain from the cold sores really gets to you, you may want to try some pain medication. Usually, an aspirin or ibuprofen will do the trick, but you cannot give aspirin to anyone under 16.
Pain medications can be taken in conjunction with topical creams and other treatments, and they will help to deal with the symptoms of cold sores. They won’t actually treat the sores, though.
Additional creams may be used to treat irritation caused by the cold sores. Once again, these deal only with an aspect of the cold sore and won’t make the sores go away, nor will they treat the virus.
If the cold sores develop into something more complicated or become incredibly painful, then it is time to see your doctor. At this point, it is no longer safe to self-medicate. You will need medical attention and expert medical advice. It is possible that the virus is developing into something more potent or that it is more severe than just simple cold sores.