Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of the virus, type 1 and 2. Cold sores are typically the result of type 1, according to Medline Plus. These sores are painful and last a week or longer. The blisters occur on the lips, chin, nostrils and checks. Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for cold sores. But medications can assist with healing the sores quicker and minimizing cold sore pain.
Apply topical treatments to relieve symptoms. Lidocaine is a medication that provides short-term relief of pain, according to MayoClinic.com. Benzocain is a medication used to minimize irritation and promote healing. Visit your local pharmacy to purchase these medications.
Use oral medications to decrease pain and heal cold sores. Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir are medications commonly prescribed to shorten the duration of cold sores, according to MayoClinic.com. Visit your doctor and request a prescription for these medications. Take the medication as directed by your doctor.
Request oral medications to prevent cold sores. If you get cold sores often, taking an oral medication will assist in preventing painful cold sores. Ask your doctor about taking oral medications daily to keep outbreaks under control.
Use heat or cold to ease the pain. An ice pack wrapped in a light wash cloth can minimize the pain during the healing process. A warm compress applied to the blister will also ease uncomfortable cold sores.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen relieve pain caused by cold sores, according to MayoClinic.com. Take the medication as directed until pain improves.
Allow the cold sore to heal. Some people pick at cold sores, assuming it will speed the healing process. But picking, squeezing or pinching a cold sore will slow the healing process. It might also cause scarring.
Identify cold sore triggers. Not getting enough sleep and staying in the sun for long periods of time can trigger cold sores, according to MayoClinic.com. Create a log to track when you get cold sores to track your triggers and minimize breakouts.
Use sun block on the face and lips. Sun exposure can cause painful cold sore breakouts, according to MayoClinic.com.