If you could wave a magic wand to get rid of your cold sore in 24 hours, you would. Instead, you’re left suffering the painful and embarrassing effects of a cold sore outbreak as fluid-filled blisters develop on and around your lips.
Though there’s no permanent cure for cold sores, it’s possible to expedite the recovery process and leave your skin looking smooth and attractive once again.
The Short Answer is “No”- But Why Not?
You want to know how to get rid of a cold sore in 24 hours (or less!). Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. Once cold sores develop, they proceed through five specific stages that take more than 24 hours to conclude:
- Tingling and itching
- Appearance of fluid-filled blisters
- Blisters ooze and form painful sores
- Sores dry and scab
- Cold sores heal as scabs fall off
This definitely isn’t an enjoyable process, but luckily you have many techniques at your fingertips to recover from an outbreak as quickly as possible.
Tips to Get Rid of a Cold Sore Faster
What can you do to get rid of a cold sore faster than the expected seven to ten days? Try these techniques and strategies to limit the amount of time you spend feeling uncomfortable and humiliated by your cold sore blisters.
Don’t accept defeat! There are many different steps you can take to fight your cold sore and reduce its impact on your day-to-day routine. Consider the following options to shorten the life span of each cold sore outbreak and feel better soon.
Make a Cold Compress
Cold compresses are among some of the simplest natural treatments for the herpes simplex virus. The idea of a compress might sound “old fashioned”, but research shows that topical therapy can effectively alleviate symptoms of genital herpes outbreaks and even contribute to the prevention of outbreaks when used promptly.
Here are a few tried-and-true natural compress ideas to get you started:
- - Cold compress using an ice pack or soft washcloth filled with ice
- - Baking soda paste
- - Cornstarch paste
- - Crushed garlic cloves mixed with olive oil
Use Ibuprofen to Reduce Pain and Swelling
This is an easy remedy that you probably already have in the medicine cabinet. Most of the pain and discomfort caused by cold sores originations from underlying inflammation. NSAID medications like ibuprofen temporarily reduce inflammation so that you can feel better in less than 24 hours, even if that stubborn cold sore hasn’t disappeared quite yet.
Avoid These Foods
The same foods that threaten your overall health also compromise your body’s ability to fight the herpes virus and reduce the impacts of each outbreak. Avoid the following to ensure your body remains in prime fighting condition.
Heavily processed foods. Processed foods, which are normally found on the interior aisles of the grocery store, are loaded with synthetic ingredients. In many cases, the food’s existing nutrients are stripped away in the preservation process.
Freezer meals and refined grains, for example, contain synthetic and processed ingredients that trigger oxidative stress. It’s important to keep your body’s oxidative stress low to promote healing during herpes outbreaks, so eating heavily processed foods creates an uphill battle to recovery.
Added sugar. The added sugar found in treats, desserts, and refined foods stunts your body’s natural healing abilities. Extra sugar is also converted into acid, which attacks your body and exacerbates herpes outbreak symptoms.
Don’t Pick Your Cold Sore
Just like you can’t pick at the chickenpox, you shouldn’t pick at your cold sore! Every time you touch a cold sore, you risk spreading the herpes simplex virus to other parts of your body or other people you contact.
Picking at your cold sore also increases the risk of infection and scars. If you’re tempted to touch your blister, find a cotton swab, and apply an ointment or medication for relief instead.
What Are the Strongest Over the Counter Options for Cold Sores?
There are many over-the-counter options available for cold sore relief. Abreva® and Orajel™ are the two strongest OTC options.
Orajel™ provides instant and targeted pain relief in and around the mouth. For herpes simplex cold sores, the Orajel™ Cold Sore formula includes six active ingredients shown to treat the pain, itching, and dryness caused by cold sores. It can be applied up to four times a day to help you stay comfortable through an outbreak.
Abreva® is also an over-the-counter cream used to treat cold sores and fever blisters, but it works differently. Abreva® contains the only non-prescription ingredient approved by the FDA to accelerate the cold sore healing process. This OTC treatment can be used up to five times a day, or as directed by your doctor.
What Are the Strongest Prescription Options?
Acyclovir is an antiviral prescription medication available in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. It’s used to decrease the pain and increase the healing time of sores and blisters caused by chickenpox, shingles, genital herpes, and cold sores. This antiviral medication stops the spread of the herpes virus in the body, which in turn helps outbreaks heal.
Acyclovir should be taken two to five times a day for five to ten days, depending on the extent of your outbreak.
What Preventative Measures Can Stop Cold Sores?
What’s even better than getting rid of a cold sore quickly? Never having a cold sore at all! These preventative measures can help prevent cold sores from forming by eliminating known cold sore triggers and keeping the herpes simplex virus dormant.
Choose the Right Foods and Supplements
Certain foods and supplements are shown in clinical and anecdotal research to prevent herpes outbreaks. Try incorporating these options into your daily routine to help your body fight cold sores before they begin:
- - Lean protein (eggs, chicken, almonds)
- - Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, chia seeds, mackerel)
- - Zinc (chick peaks, pork, lamb)
- - Lysine supplement
- - Probiotics
- - Vitamin B complex
Improve Your Sleeping Habits
Sleep is one of your most valuable defenses against disease. Rest doesn’t just refresh your mind, it recharges your immune system as well. Stop fatigue from zapping your immune system and making you vulnerable to cold sore outbreaks with these tips:
- - Create a soothing sleep environment
- - Reduce technology and blue light before bedtime
- - Develop a consistent evening routine to wind down
- - Get regular exercise during the day
Use Luminance RED
Luminance RED is a breakthrough cold sore treatment that harnesses powerful LED light technology to shorten healing time and decrease the frequency of new outbreaks.
This FDA-approved device nourishes the skin with a 660 nanometer light wavelength, which is metabolized to accelerate the body’s healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Regular use of Luminance RED not only helps shorten the healing time of active outbreaks, it can also help prevent future outbreaks altogether!
The Luminance RED device is easy to use to reduce the effects of cold sore outbreaks. It is designed to be held about one centimeter from the area being treated for a 60 second session. It should be applied at least once a day, but up to three times a day, for maximum efficiency.
Thanks to the precise design of Luminance RED, every treatment provides the exact wavelength and irradiance of light necessary to maximize treatment efficiency and prevent cold sore outbreaks.
In fact, clinical research shows that patients who received treatment had a 49% reduction in time to heal compared to those who had no light treatment. Those are the results you want!