Whether it’s your first cold sore or you’ve had quite a few in your time, the experience can be somewhat unpleasant. So, when a cold sore gives you trouble, you’d probably like to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help relieve your discomfort and speed up your recovery. Read on to discover our top tips on cold sore care and prevention – and some all-important information about ways to reduce spreading the cold sore virus to others.

Cold sore care: finding relief

When it comes to finding cold sore relief, there are a few different ways you can soothe the symptoms of a cold sore. 

First, cold sores can be treated with cold sore creams, such as VIRASOLVE® Cold Sore Cream, which contain an antiviral agent to fight the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection. Importantly, the antiviral agent is most effective when it’s applied during the early stages of cold sore formation – the tingly stage or when blisters start to develop – because this is when the virus is most active. You can find out more about treating cold sores here.

While an antiviral agent is an important cold sore remedy that treats the source of infection, cold sores can often be uncomfortable or even painful. To help relieve discomfort from your cold sore, you could try using an over-the-counter pain reliever that you take by mouth (also called an oral analgesic) or apply to the affected area (called a topical analgesic). Another option is to apply a topical local anaesthetic such as lidocaine to the affected area. Unlike other cold sore creams, VIRASOLVE also contains an anaesthetic to help relieve the pain, itching, and general discomfort of a cold sore.

In addition to VIRASOLVE treatment, other things you could try to help find cold sore relief include:

  • Gently icing a cold sore or applying a cool compress or a cold, damp cloth to the affected area
  • Dabbing some lip balm or moisturiser on dry lips or skin around the affected area
  • Choosing soft, easy to eat foods and avoiding salty or acidic foods that could cause further irritation

Cold sore recovery: promoting healing

For anyone who’s ever experienced an unsightly cold sore, the million-dollar question is how to heal a cold sore quickly. Once it appears, a cold sore will progress from the blister stage to oozing, crusting, and scabbing – learn more about the cold sore stages and their symptoms here. Applying an antiviral cold sore cream such as VIRASOLVE when you feel that first tell-tale tingle may help reduce the cold sore healing time, but are there other measures you can take to help your cold sore recovery?

Unfortunately, there are no scientifically proven cold sore home remedies or natural remedies for cold sores that can make a cold sore go away overnight. But there are some things that you can avoid doing to help keep your cold sore recovery on track.

Don’t be rough – always dab gently when applying cold sore cream to your cold sore and avoid any vigorous rubbing or washing that could pop the blister or dislodge the crust when it starts to form

Keep those fingers away – don’t poke or pick at the blisters or scabs to help reduce the risk of cold sore scars, bacterial infection, or spreading the virus

When it comes to preventing bacterial infections, keeping your hands clean and avoiding touching your cold sore are key – but VIRASOLVE also contains an antibacterial agent to help protect your cold sore from becoming infected when the blisters start to ooze and crust over.

Cold sore prevention: reducing outbreaks

After your first cold sore infection has cleared up, the virus lies inactive in your nerve cells. Alas, many people with HSV-1 infections experience what’s called a recurrent infection where the virus becomes reactivated and causes another cold sore infection. Discover how the symptoms of primary vs recurrent infections can differ here.

While everyone is different, there are some common triggers known to cause recurrent cold sore infections – learn more here. You may be able to identify certain patterns as to when or why you get a cold sore infection, which may help you take steps to reduce the likelihood of a cold sore making an unwanted appearance. While certain triggers may be difficult to avoid, there are some things you can be mindful of to help reduce the recurrence of cold sores.

Protect your lips from the elements

Exposure to sunlight can trigger a cold sore, so use sunscreen or a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips. Wind or cold air may also cause a cold sore to pop up, so try to avoid too much exposure and protect your lips with a moisturising lip balm.

Take care of your general health and well-being

While we can’t always prevent catching the latest cold that’s making the rounds, keeping your immune system healthy may help reduce your likelihood of getting sick and triggering a cold sore outbreak. Similarly, trying to reduce stress and avoiding overexertion may help prevent unwanted cold sores.

Cold sore prevention: stopping the spread

HSV-1 can easily spread from one person to another, so if you’re someone who gets cold sores, it’s important to understand what steps you can take to help prevent spreading the virus. Find out how HSV-1 causes cold sores here

These precautions are especially important during the early stages of a cold sore outbreak – during the tingling and blister stage – because this is when you are more likely to pass on the virus because it’s active again. However, it’s important to remember that the virus can still be passed on when you are not experiencing an active cold sore outbreak.

Simple things you can do to reduce the risk of spreading the cold sores virus to other people include:

  • Avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact (e.g., kissing, touching, oral sex) with other people
  • Avoiding close contact with newborn babies, young children, and people with compromised immune systems
  • Not sharing any equipment that your cold sore or saliva has touched (e.g., drinking glasses, water bottles, cutlery, towels, toothbrushes, razors, lip balm)

It’s also possible to spread cold sores to another part of your face, so it’s important to always keep your hands clean – only touch your cold sore to apply treatment and wash your hands immediately afterwards.

Cold sore management and relief

For times when a cold sore makes an unwanted appearance, VIRASOLVE Cold Sore Cream has you covered at every stage with its antiviral, antibacterial, and anaesthetic triple-action formula. VIRASOLVE fights the virus from the first tingle and protects against bacterial infection, all while relieving and soothing the pain, itching, and general discomfort of a cold sore.

Always read the label and follow directions for use

Cold sore care & prevention FAQs


Yes – while HSV-1 is spread through direct contact with a cold sore, it can also be spread indirectly by sharing items such as utensils or toiletries that have been contaminated with blister fluid or saliva from someone with a cold sore.


Yes – while cold sores are most contagious during the early stages when blisters are first forming, HSV-1 can still be spread during the later crusting and scabbing stages and even when someone does not have an active cold sore.


 To help reduce the likelihood of your cold sore leaving a scar, don’t pick, poke, or lick the affected area to avoid bursting the blisters or dislodging the crust or scab.


While not all cold sore triggers can be avoided or controlled, reducing exposure to sun and wind, using sun protection, and taking care of your general health and well-being can help target some of the common triggers of recurrent cold sore outbreaks.