The small blisters and blister-type lesions appearing anywhere on the lips, around the mouth and nostrils that define cold sores (also known as fever blisters) are due to a virus that, once contracted, stays with you, hiding until triggered. 

Researchers have found that more than half of Americans aged 14 to 49 carry the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) the virus that causes cold sores to develop and up to 90 percent of Americans will have at least one cold sore during their lifetime.

The best time to begin treating a cold sore is at the onset of symptoms.  Symptoms can vary from person to person and the most common symptoms are an itchy-tingly feeling or the appearance of a bump around your mouth. These symptoms may happen a few days before blisters appear. If you are looking for help, here are 5 tips from our experts that can help you get rid of cold sores fast.

1.Oral medication

Most doctors think that the only possible treatment for the (HSV-1) herpes simplex virus-1 (the virus that causes cold sores) can be antivirals like valacyclovir and acyclovir (which are accessible in the USA only via prescription.)  These oral therapies have been clinically proven to inhibit the HSV-1 replication cycle but unfortunately, they are most effective when taken within the first 24 to 72 hours of an outbreaki.  Access to these medications requires an appointment and a request for a prescription.  Furthermore, these medications have deleterious side effects. Prophylactic and prolonged use of such medications can give rise to resistant strains of the virusii, iii, which are not susceptible to these prescribed antivirals.   Another drawback of such treatments is that depending on the type of insurance plan and associated co-pays coupled with doctor fees make such treatments expensive ($130 to $170).  Considering these drawbacks, oral medication may not always be the best option, especially when you are looking to get rid of cold sores fast without shelling too much from your pocket.

2.TriClara® − a Cold Sore treatment/topical you can buy online

OTCiv creams/lotions are meant to be the most successful solution to get rid of cold sores fast, as they treat them quickly and more effectively without having to subject a patient to systemic exposure since they are applied topically. TriClara® (NDC 72158-001 (National Drug Code) is one such product that has been reported to relieve cold sore symptoms and clear the skin fast. If you are looking for quick and effective symptomatic relief treatment from cold sores, you should go for TriClara®. To learn more or order online, please click here

3.Herbal Remedies

There are several topical herbal remedies that are touted online for shortening the duration of cold sores and providing relief of symptoms. Some also claim to help get rid of cold sores fast, however, these medications for the most part lack an official FDA NDC (National Drug Code) so quality and compliance with strict cGMP (current GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICES) are lacking.

4.Healthy Living

Most individuals ignore the aspect of healthy living.  Unfortunately, the HSV-1 virus is a dormant and opportunistic virus that recurs when the body is stressed or subjected to certain triggers.  Listed below are some of the possible triggers that can induce recurrence or activation of the HSV-1 and cause outbreaks:

    1. Exposure to sun and wind.
    2. Exposure to cold.
    3. High stress.
    4. Compromised immune system and or certain illnesses.
    5. Surgery or long dental care procedures.
    6. Inadequate sleep.
    7. Certain foods.
    8. Mucosal skin injuries.

Thus, every individual should know their triggers and should try and lead a healthy life with commensurate diet and exercise.


ii The resistance of herpes simplex viruses to nucleoside analogs: mechanisms, prevalence, and management.Piret J, Boivin G., Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 Feb; 55(2):459-72.

iii Necrotizing keratitis caused by acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus. Toriyama K, Inoue T, Suzuki T, Kobayashi T, Ohashi Y., Case Rep Ophthalmol. 2014 Sep; 5(3):325-8.

iv DISCLAIMER: Most OTC drugs are not reviewed and approved by the FDA, however, they may be marketed if they comply with applicable regulations and policies. FDA has not evaluated whether this product complies.

Dr. Melwyn Abreo
Ph.D., University of California