How to Prevent Cold Sores From Getting Bigger

Cold sores needn't be anxiety producing. A cold sore is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is usually found around your mouth. It starts out as a red spot and then swells up. They usually tingle, hurt and cause embarrassment. If you attack it as soon as you feel the tingling, you can reduce the chances that it will get bigger.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Zinc gluconate or zinc sulfate
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton swab
  • Lysine


    • 1

      Use a new toothbrush and new tube of toothpaste. An old toothbrush may have viruses on it, and may be the reason for a cold sore to spread. Replace the toothbrush and toothpaste again after the cold sore heals.

    • 2

      Wash your toothbrush in hot soapy water and dry it when you finish brushing your teeth. Wrap it in a paper towel and put it away to keep it dry and prevent herpes simplex virus from living on your toothbrush. Wash it again before you brush your teeth.

    • 3

      Wash and dry the cold sore and the area around it. Cold sores need dirt and moisture. If you keep the area clean and dry, they have less possibility to thrive.

    • 4

      Apply zinc gluconate or zinc sulfate to the cold sore as soon as you feel the tingling sensation that indicates one is starting. This can be found in over-the-counter cold sore medications.

    • 5

      Apply petroleum jelly to the cold sore with a cotton swab to keep it from swelling.

    • 6

      Eat potatoes and dairy products and take dietary supplements with lysine, which can help to heal the swelling from cold sores. Take 3,000 milligrams of lysine daily.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each person in the family should have his own toothpaste to avoid the spread of cold sores.
  • Do not take lysine supplements if you are pregnant or nursing since it can interfere with the development of infants.
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  • Photo Credit Milk, milk and hands image by Mykola Velychko from

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