Fever blisters, also called cold sores, are fluid-filled blisters that occur anywhere from the lips to the nostrils. They are caused by the herpes simplex type I virus. These blisters usually last one to two weeks, eventually crusting over and scabbing. Fever blisters not only are painful, but the affected person typically finds the sore very unattractive. Although no remedy has been proven to speed healing, you can ease some of the symptoms, including swelling.
Things You'll Need
- Clean white cotton cloth
- Astringent solution
- Topical solutions
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever
Wrap crushed ice in a clean white cotton cloth and press it to the fever blister for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat several times a day.
Apply a cold compress with an astringent solution such as witch hazel or aluminum acetate to help dry the fever blister and reduce swelling.
Apply an over-the-counter zinc oxide ointment or an ointment containing docosanol (Abreva) or allantoin (Herpecin-L). Prescription topical solutions also are available, including acyclovir ointment (Zovirax) and penciclovir cream (Denavir).
Avoid hot or spicy food and beverages if the cold sore is on your lip, because those can irritate the blister.
Take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which can reduce swelling because of their anti-inflammatory properties.