While cold sores are pretty small in size, it is true that they can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. These tiny blisters will typically occur on the edges of our lips or near our mouths. It is also possible that they may be grouped together and form in patches. The main reason why this happens is when someone contracts the HSV- 1 virus. Another important point to note is that not everyone who contracts the virus will get these cold sores. If you are infected with it, however, then the infection will be with you for life and they can be triggered at any time. 

After you have contracted the virus, it will live within the nerve roots. The reason for their reemergence is mostly down to particularly tough physical and/or emotional stress. There is another variety of this virus that will generally affect the genital parts of the body and it is known as HSV-2. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes at times but these are mostly rare cases. 

One particularly difficult thing with this virus is that it will not be active most of the time, so you may not even know if you have it or not. However, with that being said, some of the things that can actually trigger the formation of these cold sores include:

  • Deficiency in the immune system
  • The flu or the cold
  • Some kind of dental work 
  • Other types of mouth trauma
  • Fatigue
  • Allergic reactions
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy

Another important thing to know about cold sores is that they are very contagious and that they can spread very quickly and easily. If you think you have cold sores, you should make sure that you do not do certain things like kissing, sharing your drinks, performing oral sex, etc. 

There is some good news though. If you do get infected and get cold sores and even if you take no actions to treat them, they will go away on their own in about 7 days. Make sure that you seek out a doctor if you do not see improvements in your symptoms within the first two weeks. You should also seek help from doctors if you get cold sore breakouts often. However, most people who do get the virus are able to lead perfectly normal lives without any form of treatment. 

The following over-the-counter treatment options are very popular. Let’s take a look at some of them and in the end, we will provide you a look at an alternative you may not have thought of otherwise.

OTC Medications

One of the first things you need to understand is that you cannot cure cold sores. However, with the help of some medications, you may be able to mitigate the issues of cold sores much better. Ideally, you should look for medications that have some form of numbing agents in them like menthol or phenol. These things have the potential to reduce the cracking of the skin and also soften any scabs you might have. A particular tropical remedy that is very popular among people with cold sores is Abreva. While it does have some beneficial properties, you need to use it many times every day in order to get it to work. 

Non-OTC Options

If the cold sores you have are particularly irritating or painful, you will most likely need to see a doctor who will then prescribe you some form of an anesthetic gel. This will be prescribed to ease the pain being caused. Doctors will often also prescribe antiviral types of oral medication in order to stop the breakouts from happening again. 

Some common forms of these medications are Zovirax, Famvir, and Valtrex. One thing to keep in mind about these sorts of medications is that they are most effective if applied within the first 48 hours of the breakout. Another medication that is commonly used is Valacyclovir, although, it has to be said that this medication is considerably more expensive than the previous ones. However, Valacyclovir is much easier to digest and is hence, much more reliable. 

Consider Light Therapy

If this is the first time that you are hearing about light therapy, you really must have been not paying much attention to what is happening in the health and fitness industries. If you were paying attention, then you would know that light therapy has become a very popular form of therapy for a whole host of conditions. The best part about light therapy is that it is very safe and it can be done right from the comfort of your own home.

Light therapy can also help you deal with cold sores much better than you might be aware of. This therapy method makes use of certain wavelengths of light that can be extremely beneficial to us and also possess a lot of regenerative properties. This form of therapy is very well known for the healing and skin-regenerating properties it has, on top of anti-inflammatory properties. 

There has been a lot of research conducted on the matter and the results were all conclusive; red light is able to both accelerate the healing process and it can also reduce the pain caused by HSV lesions. 


Cold sores can be a source of embarrassment because of the stigma surrounding herpes. On top of that, these things can also be very painful and cause interruptions in daily functioning. While OTC options are there, we believe that in the long run, you will see much better results with Light Therapy.