Safe Cold Sore Care: Before and After a Blister Appears
If you shouldn't pop a cold sore, what can you do?
You can potentially prevent a cold sore from erupting with certain treatments. For instance, since sunlight can trigger an outbreak, wear a lip balm with broad-spectrum protection and at least an SPF-30 every day.
If you have Stage One symptoms, you might be on the cusp of an outbreak. You can then try these potentially preventative measures:
- Use an over-the-counter anti-viral cold sore medication containing benzyl alcohol or docosanol.
- Take prescribed anti-viral medication. If you experience frequent outbreaks, ask your doctor about prescribing a daily medication.
- Press an ice cube or cold compress to the spot where you feel the sensation.
If you have a big day coming up, try stress-reducing measures like massages, meditation, and rest to reduce the chance of an outbreak. Since illness is another trigger, stay healthy with exercise and a nutritious diet. You can also talk to your doctor about other ways to decrease your chance of an outbreak.
If a cold sore erupts, the potentially preventative measures noted above might shorten its lifespan. If you want to reduce the redness, the AAD recommends that you apply a cold, wet, clean towel on your cold sores for five to 10 minutes at various times during a day.
Though noting studies for alternative medicines have been mixed, the Mayo Clinic mentions a few of these potential remedies, such as lysine, synthetic beeswax called propolis, and cream with rhubarb and safe.
Though a cold sore can appear at the most inconvenient times possible, if you ask yourself, "Should I pop a cold sore?" the answer will always be no. Unfortunately, your sores won't heal any faster, and popping them could lead to more serious problems. Instead, try one or a combination of treatments to potentially prevent or safely heal your sores. And speak to your family doctor if you experience frequent outbreaks or your sores won't heal after two weeks.
If you treat a cold sore safely and hygienically, it should heal quickly without scarring, and you can avoid spreading the virus. And that will save the day!