How Do I Manage & Treat Cold Sores?

By Aspen Dental
How Do I Manage & Treat Cold Sores?

How Do I Manage & Treat Cold Sores?

Cold sores are very common. Over 50% of Americans from the age of 14 to 49 have the virus that causes cold sores. This virus is known as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). When you first contract HSV-1, you will likely get a cold sore. Then it will become dormant until another outbreak is triggered, but it will always be in your body. While a cold sore is not usually serious, they can be painful, irritating, and can ruin your smile. They clear up quickly, often within two weeks, and there are remedies you can try to speed up the healing process:

  • Ask your doctor or dentist for a prescription antiviral medication
  • Apply an ice pack
  • Use an over-the-counter pain-relieving cream for cold sores like Abreva
  • Avoid eating spicy or acidic foods
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen

Not only can cold sores be a nuisance to yourself, but you can also infect others. HSV-1 can always be transmitted to others around you, but you are most contagious when you have an open cold sore. Take these precautions to prevent spreading the virus:

  • Avoid sharing towels, lip balm, razors or other personal items
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils
  • Stay away from anyone with a weakened immune system, like elderly people or newborn babies
  • Don’t kiss anyone
  • Avoid sexual activity
  • Try not to touch your cold sores
  • Wash your hands often, especially if you touch your cold sore or apply medicine to it

Living with a cold sore doesn’t have to be difficult if you use these healing remedies and follow these precautions. If you have more questions about cold sores, feel free to call us at Aspen Dental.