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While cold sores are uncomfortable, you can find relief at home. Suggestions to help manage cold sores:

  • Use over-the-counter creams and ointments: These remedies can help shorten the healing time and ease your symptoms. They are most effective when you use them as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on.
  • Take pain relievers: If you are in a lot of pain, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter topical pain reliever such as lidocaine that you can apply directly to the cold sore. You can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen by mouth to ease your discomfort.
  • Wear sunscreen and SPF lip balm: It is important to make sure a cold sore doesn’t get sunburned while it is healing. Also, wearing a lip balm with SPF 30 every day could prevent future cold sores.
  • Avoid acidic foods: Orange juice, tomatoes and other acidic foods can aggravate a cold sore.
  • Apply a cool compress: You can use a cool, damp washcloth to soothe a cold sore. Apply it for a few minutes off and on throughout the day. Be sure to wash the towel after you’ve used it to avoid spreading the cold sore to others.
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