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Cold Sores


Please describe your experience with herpes simplex infections (cold sores, non-genital). Submit Your Comment

Comment from: V, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 18

I am 30 and I have been getting cold sores since I was a little kid. Only about once a year when I would get a bad cold or go to the dentist. As of a year ago I have been getting them every 2 weeks even on 2 g daily Valtrex. I have tried lysine, changed my diet, quit my job for a few months, exercise, vitamins, and every possible lip cream. I am very self-conscious and feeling defeated. The doctors have done blood tests and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. I am feeling hopeless.

Comment from: Macygrl, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 09

I lay out in the sun, got a huge blister on bottom lip, which then continued into cold sore. I was trying many remedies for herpes simplex infection that just did not work. My problem is that you could never keep the cold sore dry; it was always sticky and would never ever heal! Well good news is my new found remedy. Get some tissue, wet it and put a little antibacterial soap on it and gently rub it on the sore, get all the gummy stickiness off of it, then rinse well with warm water. Pat dry gently until very dry. Now here we go. Get Coppertone Water babies waterproof sunscreen and put a thin coat on and let dry. Then add a second coat generously and let dry. Put on the sun screen and pat it with a tissue 3 times a day. By the end of the day your cold sore will feel better, look better and be almost all gone. No Kidding! It is that you need to keep it dry and waterproof sunscreen does that for you! I don't know about anyone else but cold Sores are so embarrassing. I am so glad I used my noggin on this one!

Comment from: Matt, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 09

I'm surprised I haven't seen this yet. L-lysine is the miracle vitamin! I have had cold sores since I hit puberty in my teens. I don't know how or where I got them from, but it definitely wasn't transmitted sexually. I think somebody may have kissed me as a little boy or I must have drunk something after somebody, who knows! Anyway, I've tried everything for herpes simplex infection. Abreva only takes you so far. It doesn't prevent cold sores, it just helps them heal quicker. Plus, it is expensive for that little tube! I'm here to tell you that you need to go to the store and purchase a bottle of L-lysine! I take one pill every morning. I have not had a single cold sore in the 4 years I have taken lysine! I used to get them at least twice a year! I could not rave more about this vitamin. Like all of you, I've been embarrassed and even ridiculed for cold sores. I have hidden myself away and have missed special events because of herpes. I feel like L-lysine has helped give me that part of my life back. Do yourself a favor and go get a bottle.

Published: October 09

I get them occassionally, and I will swear by Abreeva especially if you attack it with the stuff right away, the second you feel that tingle/sensation. I'm practically running to the store. I found someone's comment on the internet about applying ice for 15 minutes at a time (the cold inhibits the virus). That was a miracle!!! The cycle of the cold sore was SOOO much quicker. 2-3 days and it was gone!!! Try it out, best of luck!

Comment from: Krastol, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 06

I have had HSV1 (herpes simplex virus) outbreaks since childhood. When I feel the tingle and know an outbreak is hours away, I take lysine. This 100 percent prevents blistering. My sister and my grandmother do the same thing.

Comment from: lisa joe, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 06

Finding out I have herpes simplex virus and HIV wasn't easy. But as time has passed, I have slowly come to terms with it and try to tackle it with a positive attitude. In mid-2012 I became quite ill. I developed persistent flu-like symptoms, headaches, a nagging cough and sores that wouldn't heal. My skin felt as if it was crawling, my legs ached, I felt nauseous and lost weight. Then exhaustion hit. It is an indescribable tiredness.

Comment from: Jeeves, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 29

I began getting cold sores when I was 11. Middle school was not fun for me. I have had up to 4 at a time on my upper lip, in my nose, below my nose, lower lip, below my lower lip. I get them about every three months. They start as a tingling, burning, itching, or feel numb. Then the small blisters appear; the skin with blisters on it will die and become a painful sore, the sore scabs over and slowly heals, splitting open as I eat, smile, etc. From blisters to heal the shortest time I have experienced is 5 days using Abreva, washing the area with soap and re-applying after meals and any chance I get. Stress, sun, caffeine, nicotine, illness, and irritation to the area, are all causes. Keeping the area dry and clean and using Abreva is the best at speeding up the process. I have had some success with a cold compress, and relaxation / visualization exercises. A healthy diet and exercise as well as two B-100 complex vitamins daily has reduced the outbreaks by half.

Comment from: firstimer, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 23

Ok, this really bites! At 50 years of age, I had my first cold sore ever....exactly 7 days after I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning. I can't help but feel a little contaminated. At first, I didn't even know what I had. Unlike the popular "tingling" sensation, mine started with a dry burning feeling, late in the afternoon. When I went to bed, I had a tiny bump in my top lip, so I thought maybe I had cut it on a straw. The next morning I got up to an atrocious site and it was so painful! My top lip looked like I had been stung or bitten by something. I still wasn't sure what was going on. It wasn't until the 3rd day, that I could see the little blisters forming and decided it was in fact, a cold sore. I did go to the doctor and he prescribed Zovirax. I've been using it for 2 days now and I'm not really impressed with the results so far. My advise to anyone experiencing anything for the first time, like I have described, is to seek immediate medical attention (especially if you had a recent visit to the dentist). You might save yourself days of pain and embarrassment.

Comment from: Mags, 45-54 Female Published: September 11

I was in my mid twenties when I first felt an itchy spot in the middle of my chin. I had no idea it would turn into a big ugly sore. Since then, I have been getting these things on and off for 25 years. They're always on my bottom lip or chin or both. There are two main causes. One is the sun, which is just fabulous when you are on vacation. The other one is stress, which is just what you need when you are starting a new job. I notice that I feel a bit run down at the time they occur. If I can zap it with Zovirax as soon as I feel that first little itch, then I can normally contain the severity of the attack.

Comment from: 1969, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 08

I would like to share my story, and any insight would be appreciated. I had herpes test in November, tested positive for having 1, but not HSV (herpes simplex virus) 2. My index was 2.50. I read that between 1.1 and 3.5 is false positive, and over 3.50 is definitely positive. I have never had an outbreak. I was tested in 2014 and both were negative. Within 2 years I tested positive for 1. I am so confused. I have read everything I can and can't get any definite answers. The doctor just accepted the test as positive because that's what it concluded.

Comment from: Sharon, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 09

I only get a cold sore once every couple of years. I have my primary Dr. prescribe me Valtrex (I get the now available generic brand) so I can get several prescriptions a year to keep on hand. I get very ill from cold sores. I get fever, chills, and big knots under my chin, and jaw area. I also take an antibiotic with a cold sore. If I didn't have the Valtrex, my cold sore would take up almost 50% of my lip. I get flu like symptoms with them. But I only get them once every two to three years, but it's always very bad, and make me sick.

Comment from: sak6769, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 04

My son gets cold sores every year during this season. We found Abreva to relieve the pain and it keeps it from getting worse and decreases the healing time greatly. A great product.

Comment from: 25-34 Published: November 04

I have had cold sores since I was 14 years old, despite not knowing what it really was, even after seeing a doctor. During college I was actually told I had cold sores by a doctor and given Valtrex which is AMAZING! I don't take it daily but when taken at the first sign of the tingle will substantially decrease the severity of the cold sore and shorten healing time way better than even Abreva. It's easy to ask the doctor despite its advertisement as treatment for genital herpes. No side effects and it is well known as a treatment for cold sores. I keep it on me all the times and take it anytime I am worried about and outbreak and I haven't had one in a year. I swear it's the best treatment, besides all the topical things to relieve discomfort. It is a little embarrassing since everyone knows what this drug treats, but not as embarrassing as the bump! Like most people I get them from sun, stress and severe illness, but I feel I have cold sores really under control now.

Comment from: (Patient) Published: October 29

Ouch! Right now I have the worst case of cold sores that I have had in my life. They are covering 75% of my lips. I have been unable to show my face at work for the last 4 days - it is so bad and embarrassing. (Thankfully my boss is understanding and I am able to work from home this week) I don't know what to do for it except sleep a lot, take L-Lysine pills (I think they work), and apply Abreva. Sometimes they come up from stress, lack of sleep - but this time it started with chapped lips. BAM! Sometimes they come on so fast it is unbelievable. Grrr.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

Tea Tree Oil. I've been getting them for 35 Years, since I was 4. I've tried a lot and the best thing for me is tea tree oil. The blisters are not getting as big and painful and heal quicker. Sometimes it goes away even before becoming a blister. I've told other sufferers and they agreed.

Comment from: Trouble40, 45-54 Female Published: October 21

I have been getting cold sores since college. About 30 years. Lately they have been showing up after I have had severely chapped lips. This can be from whatever. The last bout was after a big, fun party. I also drank pop out of a can which seems to trigger them. They pop up whenever, but usually with chapped lips for me. Not necessarily sun-related, but from whatever. I have used Carmex, with limited success, usually to just keep things moist. I have also used regular white toothpaste at night (Colgate/Crest), which seems to help dry them up faster. I think will try the ice trick. Yes, they are ugly and painful. Wish there was a cure.

Comment from: cyndiep40, 35-44 Female Published: October 20

I have been having cold sores for as long as I can remember. I am 44 years old and for some reason it seems to be getting worse. I went from two to three times a year until almost every other month, usually around my cycle. Abreva seems to clear them up in three to four days. I never heard of anyone getting the cold sores from me. I have been married for 25 years.

Comment from: ps, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

Up until 2002 I never had a cold sore...In 2002 I underwent chemo for cancer..after that, I get them..one every once in a while, when I was sick..but since 9/15/09 till this date, I have had five different attacks.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

I have been getting cold sores since I was a kid and I think I got it from my parents. It is an embarrassing issue to have because a) you cant hide it and b) the stigma behind it. Everyone just assumes it's herpes like the regular STD. I hope more people are aware that anyone can contract this and does not mean we are "dirty" or anything.

Comment from: LOve101, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

I'm 18 years old and I have been getting fever blisters since I was a young girl. Now the doctors seem to be no help! It's so embarrassing and when I do get them (like 2 or 3 times out of the year). I feel so self-conscious and I limit myself into going outside. Only thing I know that helps is....NOTHING, but isolating myself from others and let it heal on its own! I've tried everything and it seems to take the same amount of time as putting anything on there! I've got one now and I just wait and wait as it dries up and goes away.

Comment from: Sammy, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 15

I've been getting cold sores since I was about 6 years old. I usually get one followed straight away by a second, each lasting about a week at a time. I have not yet found any decent cures for them, other than putting a compress on to try to limit the amount of moisture getting on the sore.

Comment from: Bazza, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 12

I have been getting cold sores for as long as i can remember. I am 28, I can have up to 6 at a time and they hurt. I can get them when i'm stressed, run down, out in the sun and sometimes for no apparent reason. As soon as i feel a tingle, I know within 10 minutes I'll have blisters galore which is not a good sight. The only thing I use which I find works well is tea tree oil, straight onto a burst blister. It hurts but it seems to work for me.

Comment from: Young Grandmother, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I am 48 years old and got my first cold sore 2 days after getting a tooth pulled. I also feel like I got it from the dentist's office. I searched the internet for clues and discovered it was a fever blister. I have been using Campho-Phenique and Abreva. I've had the blisters for 5 days now. It causes lots of distress, and I don't know if these products are working.

Comment from: Greg, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 07

I get a cold sore about once every 8 months to a year. Mine are very painful and I usually keep it for around 2 - 2-1/2 weeks. I cannot keep it from cracking and it spreads from the corner of my mouth to just under my lip. It burns and is really, really nasty looking and REALLY freakin' embarrassing. The Nexcare and Carmex have ZERO effect on this monster. I've never been to a doctor but after this last out break I can't take it anymore, the doctor is getting a visit!

Comment from: livelifeontherun, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I am 19 now and I noticed my first cold sore when I was about 16, I had shared a drink with my step mom without even thinking... oh man do I resent that drink! I usually only get an out break twice a year... but always in the worst possible place and time! I believe mine comes from stress and right around my period... I use abreva and that seems to work pretty well.. I was just hoping maybe someone had miricale cream that would make it disappear in a day... maybe I will just have to try some more out... man I feel dirty from this! ughhh....

Comment from: Ann, 45-54 Female Published: September 23

I think I have a cold sore on my lip, inside my nose (it's runny nose season), and on my eye lids. They do not appear severe. I believe that I contracted them in the daycare center where i work.

Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 23

I currently have one of the worst outbreaks of cold sores I have ever had. I am 99.999% certain this outbreak has been caused by a fairly severe sunburn on my face and lips, no blisters but bad for my face. While I have had sunburns before on the face I protect my face as much as possible to prevent them. My lips were burnt as was my face after approximately 7 hours in the sun. I use Carmex and medicated lip blam to relieve pain and keep the sores from cracking and hurting. Carmex is the easiest to apply and is the least painful for me as it gets really soft and liquidy when in contact with the skin.

Comment from: Belvita, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 23

I'm infected and I suffer from a cold sore for days. This time, I have been under stress at work and I've been exposed to the sun during a trip last week. It is so painful, I'm actually using Zovirax and I'm still waiting to recover.

Comment from: little red head, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

I am 18 and this is the first time I have ever had a cold sore. It hurts so bad, it is on my top lip RIGHT in the center. I was out in the sun all day yesterday and then today I woke up with this lovely beast on my face. I immediately put Abreva on it now I just have to wait to see how well this works.

Comment from: Jackie, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I am 24 and have gotten cold sores since i was a little girl. My mother gave it to my sister and me. Since I have had them for so long I have used many things to fight them. I found a combo of all of them works best. The ice helps to stop the growth and tea-tree oil to dry it out which makes it scab and go away faster. Once the blister is filled in, hot black tea bags used the same as ice and Zovirax from my doctor and vitamins b-12/c/and Zinc. With all of these together, mine last about 4 days. It's a lot but I would rather do all this then stay inside for 2 weeks.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Cernik, C., K. Gallina, and R.T. Brodell. "The Treatment of Herpes Simplex Infections: An Evidence-Based Review." Arch Intern Med 168.11 June 9, 2008: 1137-1144.

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