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Home Treatment for Cold Sores

Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are the most common type of painful sores on the outside of the lip. Home treatment can help reduce pain and speed healing.

  • Apply ice to the area when you first feel a sore coming on (tingling or prickly feeling at the site). This may help reduce the pain and dry out the sore. Apply the ice directly to the sore-5 minutes on, 10 minutes off-repeating as desired.
  • Apply a water-based product to ease the cracking and dryness of a lip sore.
  • Use a lip protector, such as Blistex or Campho-Phenique, to ease the pain. Don't share your lip protector with others because cold sores are contagious.
  • Puncture a vitamin E capsule and squeeze the oil onto the sore. This soothes inflammation and protects the sore.
  • Avoid squeezing, pinching, or picking at your sore.
  • If you have frequent cold sores, ask your doctor whether there is a medical treatment that might help.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised September 15, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 15, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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