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How to Treat Cold Sores

If you get hit with a painful cold sore, you don’t need to let it sideline you. Similar to a sports injury, taking the right steps right away can help shorten healing time and duration of painful cold sore symptoms. So next time you’re facing an annoying cold sore, this helpful 5-step regimen can help you fight back.

Make time for things

Step 1: Act quickly and apply Abreva®

The best way to help a cold sore heal faster is by applying Abreva® Cream as soon as you feel that familiar tingle. Abreva® starts to work immediately and shortens the duration of pain, itching, burning, and tingling. It’s the only nonprescription cold sore medicine approved by the FDA to shorten healing time. When applied at the first sign, Abreva® is clinically proven to heal a cold sore in as little as 2½ days*. Simply put, it’s your best defense for fighting off a cold sore.

*Median healing time 4.1 days. 25% of users healed in 2.5 days.

Curb your procrastination

Step 2: Cool that cold sore down with a cold compress

Similar to using ice to relieve a painful sprain or sports injury, placing a cool, wet towel on a cold sore can help reduce pain, redness and swelling. Apply a cold compress 3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time to help it feel better.


Learn something new

Step 3: Take away the pain

There’s nothing to gain by toughing it out. Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce the pain and swelling, although this won’t make the cold sore go away.


Avoid hot beverages and foods that are salty, spicy, or acidic

Step 4: Avoid hot beverages and foods that are salty, spicy, or acidic

Do yourself a favor and steer clear of foods that are likely to irritate a cold sore. Things like pretzels, curry, hot sauce, or citrus fruits could aggravate your cold sore and make the pain worse.1


Set small goals

Step 5: Don’t be picky

Keep your hands off that cold sore. Resist the temptation to pick at it because you may prolong the healing process or make it more irritated. Remember, cold sores are contagious so if you accidently touch it, DO NOT touch any other body parts, especially your eyes. Be sure to wash your hands as soon as possible to avoid spreading it to another area or to somebody else.



Now you know exactly what to do next time something triggers a cold sore. There’s no need to act like a tough guy. Follow this playbook and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.


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