Cold sores follow characteristic stages. During the first phase, called a prodrome, you may experience tingling, itching, burning or unusual sensitivity that lets you know a cold sore is on the way. The second phase begins with the formation of a floppy blister filled with a clear, yellow-tinged fluid. After several days, the blister ruptures, heralding the beginning of the ulcer stage, so-named for the open, weeping sore, or ulcer, that the blister leaves behind. You can make a cold sore pop within a few minutes during the blister stage, but this prolongs the ulcer stage without changing the overall duration of symptoms.
Prepare Work Area
Peel open packet of sterile gauze from one corner, taking care not to touch gauze inside.
Place gauze on a countertop. Fold back the top of the gauze package, so it lies open, like a book.
Fold a sheet of paper towel into a length about 50 percent larger than your needle.
Attach tape to one end to the folded toweling, leaving about 1 inch free.
Set the paper towel near the gauze.
Wash your hands and the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.
Rinse the affected area by flooding or drizzling the affected area with warm water.
Dry hands with disposable paper towels. Dry affected area by gently patting with paper towels. Use facial tissue or toilet paper if your skin is sensitive.
Pop Cold Sore
Turn on a burner or light a candle.
Insert the tip of needle into the flame until it glows red.
Extinguish the flame and return to the work area, if necessary. Do not drop the needle.
Position yourself in front of a mirror and advance the needle into the blister just until it pops.
Blot blister fluid with the sterile gauze. If fluid continues to collect after a few minutes, apply a bandage to prevent drips. Drop used gauze into the trash.
Place soiled needle onto folded paper towel. Roll and tape to seal. Drop into the trash.
Collect any trash you have missed from earlier steps and discard.
Clean your work area with cleaning spray and disposable towels.
Take out the trash, especially if you have pets or young children.
Wash your hands with soap and water. Dry with paper towels.
- Academy of General Dentistry: What Are Cold Sores?
- "Archives of Internal Medicine"; The Treatment of Herpes Simplex Infections; Christina Cernik, M.D., et al.; June 9, 2008
- "Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th Edition"; Klaus Wolff, M.D., et al.; 2008