Should You Pop a Cold Sore?


Cold sores, or fever blisters, are a common annoyance for many people. It starts as a tingle or itch, usually on the lip, and is followed shortly thereafter by a blister. While there is little that can be done to stop a cold sore, there are some steps that can be taken to assure it has a shorter life and causes less discomfort.

Don't Pop A Cold Sore

Fight the urge to pick, squeeze, or pinch the cold sore. Because cold sores come from a virus, they will heal relatively quickly on their own (7 to 10 days) without leaving a trace, but popping or picking at it may slow down the healing process and potentially cause scarring. The best thing to do for a cold sore is to let it run its course and heal on its own.

Heat And Cold To Relieve Pain

Applying ice to the cold sore is a great form of pain relief and an effective remedy. Rub or hold ice on the cold sore for a few minutes, repeating once an hour for a more lasting effect.

Similar relief from pain can be found from applying a warm compress in the same manner as the ice. Using a warm tea bag instead of a compress has also been found effective, held on for roughly 30 minutes at a time.

Natural Remedies

Conventional treatments aside, there are some alternative remedies that can be tried. Ask a doctor’s opinion on applying witch hazel for pain relief. Rubbing aloe vera gel or oil is another option. Some have found lemon balm extract helpful in minimizing symptoms and speeding the healing process.

Preventing Future Cold Sores

Preventing a cold sore from developing is perhaps the best way to combat the problem. Beware of what triggers the sores, and take proper precautions. Common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, overexposure to the sun without sunscreen, illness, hormone changes, cosmetic surgeries, dental work, or mouth injury. Also, because it’s spread virally, avoid kissing or other forms of skin contact when cold sores are present, keep your hands washed, avoid sharing lip balms, towels, and eating utensils when cold sores are present, and use caution when touching other areas of your body, especially the eyes and genital area, as these are highly susceptible to the spreading of the virus.

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