Overnight Cold Sore Treatment

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Cold sores are caused by a virus, and are not easy to treat. Find fast-acting cold sore treatments with information from a practicing pediatrician in this free video on health.

Part of the Video Series: Treating Aches & Pains
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about overnight cold sore treatment. I got bad news here. There really is not an overnight cold sore treatment. I wish that there were. What can we do for cold sores? Well, here's a little more bad news. I'm just fall of it today, but, I'm sorry it's just the truth. The things they sell over-the-counter for cold sores are forms of Zovirax that you can apply directly to the, to the cold sore. Zovirax is brand name for Acyclovir. Now, this is an effective anti-viral treatment. Cold sores are cause by a herpes virus, human herpes virus. It does not mean that it's sexually transmitted; in many cases, it is not. But, the herpes virus has to respond to anti-herpes medications. The bad news is, the stuff you put on the lip does not really seem to work very well unless you're immuno-compromise. In patients who are on chemotherapy, have an immune disorder or have HIV or AIDS, this medication may actually be helpful. But, for immune competent patients, it's really just kind of placebo. It's not doing you a lot of good. It's giving you something to do, but, there's not a whole lot of evidence that makes a big difference. So, treat those cold sores, you're going to want an oral version of an antiviral, anti-herpes medication. Now, the two of these there are that work the best are Acyclovir, that's the older one and Valacyclovir, brand name is Valtrex. So, if you're somebody who has a severe new cold sore, you've never had one before and it's in the first two days of the sore, you maybe able to go to your doctor and see if he or she thinks that medication will be appropriate. Likewise, if you're somebody who gets cold sores frequently, you know that every time you get sick or run down or don't sleep, you're going to get one of these things, your doctor maybe able to provide you a prescription where you take it within the first twenty four to forty eight hours of symptoms. There is nothing to do for a cold sore after forty eight hours have passed. We have no medication that makes a difference. You really need to stop the viral replication early in the process. But, remember, Acyclovir and Valacyclovir can work early in the course of the cold sore. So, talk to your doctor about it and see what you can do. So, talking about overnight cold sore treatment, I'm Dr. David Hill.


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