Basic Cold Sore First Aid
Keep the cold sore clean and dry – wash it with a wash cloth and hot soapy water. Replace your toothbrush – it can harbor the virus for days, reinfecting you after your current cold sore heals.
From an interesting article I recently read:
“Researchers at the University of Oklahoma exposed a sterile toothbrush to the virus for 10 minutes. Seven days later, half of the disease-producing viruses remained, says Richard T. Glass, D.D.S., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Oral Pathology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and College of Dentistry…”
How do you neutralize the infectious toothbrush? Throw it away. Dr. Glass recommends that you throw your toothbrush away when you notice you’re just beginning to get the virus. If you still develop the cold sore, throw your toothbrush away after the blister develops; this can prevent you from getting multiple cold sores. And once the sore has healed completely, replace your toothbrush again. Dr. Glass said that patients of his who tried this found that it cut WAY down on the number of cold sores they usually experienced each year.
Treat It With Zinc
Several studies have shown that a water-based zinc solution, applied the minute you feel that tingling, helps speed up recovery time.
In a Boston study of 200 patients who were followed over a six-year period, a 0.025 percent solution of zinc sulfate in camphorated water was found very effective. Sores healed in an average of 5.3 days. The solution was applied every 30 to 60 minutes during the onset of the cold sore.
Over The Counter (OTC) Treatments
Also, topical treatments, such as topical lidocaine or benzyl alcohol (Zilactin), may help alleviate your symptoms.
Don’t drink it–soak a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the cold sore to relieve pain. Better yet, if you feel the telltale tingling before the cold sore appears, go straight to the cold milk–it can help speed healing right from the get-go.