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How To Stop Early-Stage Cold Sores: 6 Ways To Help Heal Cold Sores Faster

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While you can’t always stop a cold sore in its tracks, you may be able to use these tips, tricks, and medications to help reduce its duration so it is off of your face and out of your life sooner.

Below, we will cover 6 things that you can try if you feel a cold sore coming on, or you can see one already forming in the early stages.

Some of these tips include medications that work the best when used at the first sign. So, if you know that you are prone to cold sores, it may be a good idea to keep some of these on hand to get on top of fever blisters before they get out of control.

Some creams like Abreva are available over the counter. But, for the oral medications like Valacyclovir, you will need to speak with a doctor in person or through Strut Health online to see if having a prescription cold sore medication on hand is a good plan for you.

1. Be on the lookout for cold sore warning signs

Some people who deal with cold sores get a little bit of a warning before the whole thing really gets going.

A feeling of burning, tingling, itching, or a slight redness on or around the lip area could very well be signaling an oncoming cold sore. These sensations mean that the virus is starting to replicate within those cells, and is revving up to develop a sore in the near future.

It is at this point that you should start any topical or oral cold sore medications that you have on hand. The sooner you start treating a cold sore, the potentially shorter its duration will be.

2. Try a topical antiviral cream

Going along with tip #1, if you are in a pinch when you start feeling a cold sore developing and you don’t have time to get a prescription antiviral, you may be able to pick up a topical antiviral cream from most drug stores.

Abreva is the brand name of an over-the-counter cream that contains the medication Docosanol. This medication is supposed to work by stopping the cold sore virus (HSV-1) from being able to enter into healthy cells.

If you are going to try using an antiviral cream, you need to be diligent about its application in order to continuously inhibit viral replication. Abreva recommends 5 applications per day for up to 10 days until the cold sore is healed.

3. Use a prescription oral antiviral medication

If you commonly deal with cold sores, but don’t want to be bothered to apply an antiviral cream 5X a day for up to 10 days to help it heal faster -- there is a different way.

Oral antiviral medication Valacyclovir can also be used for the treatment of cold sores, and studies show that using Valacyclovir as directed at the first sign can help cold sores heal 1-2 days faster than if you did no treatment at all. That may not seem like an extremely long time, but if you are dealing with something irritating and unsightly on your face, being able to avoid 1-2 days of dealing with that can be fantastic.

The Valacyclovir dosage is wrapped up in just 1 day. The usual dosing for cold sore treatment is 2000mg at the first sign of a cold sore, and then another 2000mg 12 hours later. So, 2000mg of Valacyclovir taken twice for one day, spaced about 12 hours apart.

The Valacyclovir tablets come in strengths of either 500mg or 1000mg. So, for each dose, you will be taking either 4 or 2 tablets, depending on the strength of your tablets. Your doctor and pharmacist will explain the exact dosing to you, and be sure to ask them if you have any questions about correct dosing.

At Strut, we understand the frustrations of having a cold sore, so we make it easy to keep Valacyclovir cold sore treatments on hand for just these situations. If you are prone to cold sores, you can have a free online questionnaire-based telemedicine visit with our U.S. licensed doctors to see if Valacyclovir is a good option for treating your cold sores. 

If you are a good candidate for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our fast and free shipping.

4. Avoid touching the cold sore and spreading it around

The HSV-1 cold sore virus is extremely contagious. Even to, well, yourself.

It can be hard to avoid touching a cold sore since it is likely irritated and causing discomfort. But, messing with the sore can lead to you accidentally spreading the virus around on your own face, making the breakout last longer than it needs to.

If you are applying medications to the cold sore, be sure to apply the treatment with clean hands, and then immediately wash your hands and don’t touch the sore again until you need a re-application.

5. Take Lysine at the first sign of a cold sore

Lysine is an amino acid that you are liking getting some amount of in your diet every day. And, this amino acid may also play a role in slowing the growth and spread of the HSV-1 cold sore virus.

Lysine helps reduce the absorption of another amino acid, arginine. The HSV-1 virus needs arginine to replicate, so temporarily reducing its absorption may help slow the spread of the cold sore virus.

Lysine is found in certain foods like meat, eggs, some fish, soybeans, and spirulina, but can also be taken as a supplement while you are dealing with your cold sore.

Lysine supplements or creams are safe to use for most people. But, always check with your doctor before starting anything new, follow the dosing instructions on your package, and avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

6. Eat well, reduce stress, and get plenty of rest

A big part of healing anything, or fighting off a virus, is keeping your body and immune system strong.

Be sure to eat plenty of nutrition-dense foods, keep your stress levels low, and get plenty of restful sleep to help your body combat the cold sore virus effectively.

These general healthy living tips can be combined together with an antiviral medication to help you clear that cold sore as soon as possible.

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