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How to Stop a Cold Sore When it First Starts

<p>You’ve got an important day scheduled next Wednesday. It’s your big presentation. You’ll have the whole room focused on your business plan. The pressure is on and there’s no turning back. And then that’s when it happens. You notice it, the all too familiar tingle that tells you a cold sore is on its way.<sup>1</sup> Your mind starts to race. You start to wonder how to stop a cold sore when it first starts. How do you treat it?</p> <p>Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to stop a cold sore from appearing, but there are a number of steps you can take to speed up the healing process and even possibly keep outbreaks from starting in the first place.<sup>1</sup></p> <h2>Act Fast</h2> <p>Though learning how to stop a cold sore from developing entirely may not be realistic, you can dramatically shorten the time it takes for cold sores to heal. As soon as you feel the tell-tale tingle, it’s time to apply <a href=">Abreva Cold Sore Cream. When used at first sign, Abreva Cold Sore Cream can heal a cold sore in as little as 2½ days.* Timely use of Abreva Cold Sore Cream is one of the most important steps you can take to stop a cold sore in its tracks.


Stop Cold Sores Before They Start

Chronic stress can have a devastating effect on the immune system.2 Additionally, stress and changes to the immune system can trigger cold sore outbreaks.3 One of the best ways to stop a cold sore is to keep it from forming in the first place. Activities like exercising and utilizing relaxation techniques can help to relieve stress and boost your immune system. By proactively supporting your immune system in this way, you can help to keep cold sore outbreaks from starting. While it may not solve your dilemma on how to stop a cold sore when it first starts, managing your triggers may help you avoid the situation altogether. Discover even more ways to manage your triggers today.

Keep Yourself, and Others, Safe

Cold sores are contagious from the moment you first feel the tingle until they are completely healed.4 It’s easy to spread the virus that causes cold sores to others, as well as to other spots on your own body. To make sure that you stay safe, and you help protect others, make sure you follow these guidelines until your cold sore is totally healed. 5

  • Wash your Hands. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after applying topical cream to your cold sore.
  • Do not touch your cold sore. Touching your cold sore is one of the easiest ways to spread the virus, both to other parts of your body or to other people.
  • Take over the OTC pain medication. To help ease the pain associated with a cold sore, take and over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Do not kiss anyone. Kissing is one of the main ways the virus is spread. Avoid kissing anyone before your cold sore is completely healed.
  • Don’t share items. Avoid sharing any items that may have come in contact with the cold sore, like towels, lipstick or cutlery.
  • Don’t have oral sex. Performing oral sex before your cold sore is healed can potentially give your partner genital herpes.

Shifting your thought process away from how to stop a cold sore when it first starts is critical for long-term management of cold sores. Start thinking about how to manage your triggers to avoid cold sores in the first place. Treat the cold sore with Abreva Cold Sore Cream when you first develop symptoms. Finally, act cautiously while your cold sore heals to make sure you are protecting both yourself and your loved ones.

*Median healing time 4.1 days. 25 percent of users healed within 2½ days.


1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Cold Sores: Signs and Symptoms. Accessed 1/11/21. Referenced text is highlighted in PDF.

2. American Psychological Association. Stress Weakens the Immune System Accessed 1/11/21. Referenced text is highlighted in PDF.

3. Mayo Clinic. Cold Sores: Symptoms and Causes. Accessed 1/11/21. Referenced text is highlighted in PDF.

4. National Health Service. Cold Sores. Accessed 1/11/21. Referenced text is highlighted in PDF.

5. Ibid.