Treatment of cold sores is not tough but care has to be taken while taking it on time and with efficiency. But prevention is always better than cure. The treatment modalities can include both anti-viral and non anti-viral methods.
The correct use of antiviral cold sore creams can help to hasten the recovery time needed for the recurrent infection. The drugs like acyclovir and pencyclovir are effectively used to treat the herpes virus infection under the brand name zovirax and soothlip.
These over the counter (OTC) easily available creams from the chemists without the need of any prescription from a doctor, can be effective in treating cold sore. These should be applied at the first instance of appearance of cold sores and this the time when the herpes simplex virus is spreading and replicating itself rapidly. They seem to be ineffective after this initial period over.
When the problem of cold sores has changed to a frequently occurring outbreak of painful blisters the antiviral creams should be applied as soon as the tingling sensation which is a prodromal symptom of a cold sore.
The cream is used for four or five days and applied five times a day in order to have an impact. The antiviral cream usually, lead to the healing of a recent and present outbreak of the herpes infection only. Even though they prevent future outbreaks from occurring but the antiviral creams do not kill or destroy the herpes virus which causes the cold sores.
In few people, cold sores infection is very common. In such cases, a doctor will give a daily medicine to lessen the number of attacks of cold sores. Since the virus continues to live in the ganglion of the body, it is impossible on the part of the doctor to predict that for how long time the treatment should continue.
If the cold sores are very severe, or a damaged immune system is present (which can be caused by factors like immunodeficiency diseases, undergoing chemotherapy, or having HIV) the patient is usually at risk of more serious complications, including swelling of the brain or a spread of the infection to rest of the parts of the body, such as the eyes. In this case refer your general physician immediately who may advice you to have antiviral drugs, or refer you to the concerned physician. In cases where brain is infected by Herpes simplex infection, patient usually has fever and confusion and may require antiviral intravenous medications and needs to be admitted in the hospital.
In the severe cases the need to see the doctor arises who may advise the needed antiviral tablets and recommend you to the concerned specialist. The type of treatment advised to you will depend on the intensity of your cold sores, and/or the specific complication that is causing the presenting problems, Like in case where one develops a serious secondary infection of the eye called as the herpetic keratitis, your general physician will advise you to see an ophthalmologist (specialist eye doctor).
Present in the market are several non-antiviral creams which are available over-the-counter (OTC) without the need of a prescription from the doctor, from pharmacies, which help to decrease the irritation of the cold sores. Though, these creams are not made particularly for the treatment of the cold sores, and they will not help to hasten the healing process, but the patient can use them if the cold sores are painful, dry or itchy.
The antiviral or non-antiviral creams should be applied to the cold sores; you should very gently instead of rubbing, as this may damage the skin more. Before and after the application of the cold sore creams the hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. Touching the cold sores should be avoided along with the application of cream. Avoid the use of cold cream being used by the other patient.
The treatment of pain can be done by the use of painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol, available in liquid form for young children. But the use of ibuprofen is avoided in asthmatic and stomach ulcer patients which are common to occur with the use of many non steroidal painkillers. Also aspirin is not advised less than 16 years. The mothers who are lactating or pregnant ladies should refer the doctor in case they get cold sores.
In case the cold sore virus has lead to an infection of severe nature one must refer the general physician to relieve out the symptoms.
In case of a painful infection the doctor may prescribe you with benzydamine also available as oral spray or oral rinse to relieve the pain of mouth or throat. Use of a tooth brush might also be a source of pain due to the present inflammation. An antiseptic mouthwash not only, helps in the prevention of secondary infections, but also help to bring under control the build-up of plaque build-up in case the brushing of teeth effectively is not possible.
The pain associated with the cold sores can be treated with the use of pain killers but with caution. The lips might get stuck together of in rare cases of herpes infection it can be dealt with the use of lip barrier creams like Vaseline or lip guard.