Dr. Poz’s 3-step treatment plan for cold sores
by Dr. Edward Posluszny, FLT Columnist
Many people suffer from cold sores. In fact 90 percent of adults worldwide test positive for evidence of the virus that causes cold sores. And while most people who become infected with the virus never develop cold sore symptoms, they still may be contagious to others, even without blisters.
There’s no cure for cold sore infection and the blisters may recur sporadically, often triggered by fatigue, fever, exposure to the sun, stress, menstruation or a weakened immune system. If you suffer from cold sores you know it’s an unpleasant 7-10 days of unsightliness and discomfort.
Cold sores generally clear up without treatment within two weeks. Over the years I have found a regimen that can reduce both the size of the outbreak and its duration when you begin it at the first sign of the cold sore’s appearance.
When you first feel a cold sore developing (many people feel an itching, burning or tingling sensation along the border where the outside edge of the lips meets the skin of the face for a day or two before the actual cold sore blisters erupt) I recommend the following:
- Take 2 grams of Valtrex (an antiviral prescription medication)
- Take another 2 grams of Valtrex 12 hours later
- Apply a topical cold sore lip therapy treatment containing benzalkonium chloride or Abreva(also known as docosanol or behenyl alcohol). Both these salves can be purchased over-the-counter.
Be sure to see your doctor if:
- The cold sores don’t heal within two weeks.
- You have frequent recurrences of cold sores.
- Symptoms are severe.
- You have a weakened immune system.
- You experience irritation in your eyes.