How to Treat Cold Sores When Pregnant

Cold sores are red bumps that eventually become open wounds on the outer lip area and sometimes the cheek or inside the nose. The American Academy of Dermatology says that the herpes simplex virus type one is the most likely cause of cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters. Women who are pregnant with cold sores may be able to use prescription medications when recommended by a medical-care provider. Home treatment and over-the-counter products may be lower in risk but should still be approved by a health-care provider for use in pregnancy.

Close up of a woman's face with a cold sore. (Image: drkskmn/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash the affected area with warm water and a soft cloth. Soaps or facial cleansers should be avoided because they can irritate the cold sore and sensitive skin.

Step 2

Pat the skin dry in preparation for treatment.

Step 3

Wet a cotton swab or cotton ball with a small amount of witch hazel. says that this natural solution is an astringent, a solution capable of drying up a cold sore. The witch hazel can reduce irritation, itching and speed healing time.

Step 4

Repeat the steps beginning with washing the affected skin between one and three times per day. This can be continued until the sores heal.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth

  • Warm water

  • Witch hazel

  • Cotton swab or ball


With the approval of a medical-care provider, a pregnant woman can take acetaminophen to relieve the pain caused by the cold sores. Other topical cold sore treatments, such as those made with camphor, may be safe for use on the cold sores. These products work like witch hazel to dry the cold sore but may be more effective in relieving pain.

A cold pack or ice pack can be applied to the affected area to reduce redness and pain.


An outbreak of cold sores signifies that the virus is active and can be spread to others through kissing or other methods of spreading the fluids from the cold sores.

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