How to Treat Cold Sores With Ice

The Mayo Clinic describes a cold sore, or fever blister, as a small, painful, fluid-filled blister appearing around the mouth. In some cases, cold sores can appear in the nostrils, chin, fingers or inside the mouth. Cold sores usually last seven to 10 days. Despite their small size, cold sores can be difficult to hide because they protrude from the skin and are red. Fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. The Mayo Clinic points out that even though this type of virus does not usually cause genital herpes, it is possible to transfer the virus from the mouth to the genitals. Because cold sores are caused by a virus, treatment using antiviral medication does not have a substantial impact on the sores themselves.

Step 1

Recognize the early onset of a cold sore. People who frequently experience fever blisters often realize an outbreak is coming before it can be seen. Signs of a blister may include tingling, pain or other irritation near the mouth.

Step 2

Apply an ice pack wrapped with a towel or wash cloth against the site of discomfort. If the cold is tolerable, apply an ice cube directly to the site for a greater impact. Keep the ice on the site for at least five minutes or until the blister area feels cold to the touch. Pain should diminish temporarily. Take the ice pack off the site and wait 10 minutes before applying again. Repeat this process for an hour. According to, the ice can help prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of the skin.

Step 3

Take a pain reliever, if desired, to help reduce the pain.

Step 4

Dispose of your toothbrush or lip products that were used whil the cold sore existed. These items are likely to have been contaminated with the herpes virus. Using them after the cold sore disappears may reinfect the skin, causing another bout of blisters.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice pack or ice cube

  • Towel or wash cloth

  • Pain reliever


Use ice both when you feel a cold sore coming on and after it has already appeared.


Avoid kissing others or sharing utensils when you expect a fever blister or have one.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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