Girls combating cold sores with cold sore medication, kissing.
Herpes & Cold Sores

How to Stop Cold Sores and Never Worry About Another Outbreak

By Lizzie De La Cruz
We have all dealt with a cold or flu—these common illnesses are caused by viruses that are passed from person to person. However, unlike the common cold, there is a stigma associated with cold sores that makes people fearful. This stigma leads to embarrassment and shame and often causes people to hide from the world when they get outbreaks. The truth is that the Herpes Simplex Virus that causes cold sores is a virus like any other that is passed with human contact. In fact, most people are exposed as children when they are kissed by family members. Cold sores are incredibly common and are easily managed with cold sore medications. These medications can help treat current outbreaks and prevent future ones.

Signs and symptoms of cold sores

There’s no way around it—cold sores are hard to hide. They pop up right on your face, often at the most inconvenient time! And once they’re there, they love to linger. If you’re experiencing any of the following for the first time, you’re probably dealing with a cold sore outbreak: 
  • Painful blisters on your mouth, lips, nose and throat. These blisters can break open and scab. 
  • These blisters can cause pain in the throat and in the mouth itself.
  • The neck can begin to swell and hurt. 
  • Flu-like symptoms like such as fever, body aches, and fatigue.
Many of these signs and symptoms can last up to 12 days. This can be a painful couple weeks if you’re dealing with symptoms, but there are cold sore medications that can help treat cold sores both internally and topically. Modern cold sore medications are also designed to help so you never have to worry about another outbreak.

When an outbreak happens

It is important to take cold sore medications as soon as the first signs or symptoms occur. The first sign often feels like a slight tingle on the lips—once you feel it, you’ll know it when it appears again. Taking cold sore medication right when you feel this tingle can shorten the length of your outbreak and help make it less painful. If you have less than six episodes a year, then your treatment plan may be episodic (taking medicine only when you feel an outbreak coming on). There are two cold sore medications that can help during this phase. Valacyclovir is a cold sore medication that can be taken once a day. Acyclovir comes as a pill or a cream that is taken twice a day. Both medications should be taken from the first sign until the outbreak is gone.

Future outbreaks

In some cases, you may deal with frequent outbreaks, especially if you’re stressed. You may also be concerned about passing the cold sore virus to a partner during an outbreak, or even when you have no signs. Taking cold sore medication regularly can reduce the chance of passing on the virus and suppress future outbreaks. For suppressive treatment the same cold sore medication (Valacyclovir and Acyclovir) can be used. This cold sore medication will help with immediate outbreaks and fight the virus in your system to limit future occurrences.
Cold sores can feel like a lot, but you’re not alone! There are plenty of people out there dealing with the same thing. To connect with others passionate about destigmatizing outbreaks and learn more about cold sore medication, follow us on IG @hellowisp.

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