Monday, May 27, 2024

Do Antibiotics Help Cold Sores

How To Avoid Transmitting Hsv

Do Antibiotics Help With The Flu?

If you have a cold sore, be sure to wash your hands after touching it and be especially careful to avoid touching your own eyes after touching your cold sore. It is the fluid contained in the blisters that is considered to be the most infectious. While you have a cold sore it is also important to avoid:

  • sharing toothbrushes
  • sharing drinking glasses or bottles
  • sharing cutlery
  • sharing towels or other personal items
  • close contact with newborn and young babies
  • kissing others
  • close contact with children with burns or eczema
  • close contact with people with suppressed immune systems.

Medical Help: When To Get It For Children With Cold Sores

You should take your child to the GP if your child has:

  • cold sores that are weeping or starting to spread
  • a fever as well as cold sores
  • cold sores that make drinking hard even after pain relief this might lead to dehydration, especially in younger children
  • painful cold sores several times a year or trouble attending school because of cold sores.

See your GP or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if your child a seizure or is confused, drowsy or behaving unusually. This could be a sign of encephalitis.

If you have a baby aged under one month, you should take them to the GP if theyve been kissed by someone with cold sores or theyve touched the face of someone with cold sores.

You know your child best. If your child seems unwell, trust your instincts and seek urgent medical attention.

Triggers For Cold Sores

In some people the HSV infection causes cold sores, which erupt following a trigger event such as a cold. This explains the term cold sore. Other triggers that may cause an attack of cold sores include:

  • feverish illnesses, like influenza, or chest infections
  • sunlight
  • hormonal changes, such as the menstrual period
  • emotional or physical stress.

It is important to remember that cold sores are a symptom of ongoing infection rather than a new infection. The sores usually recur in the same place.

Also Check: Probiotics To Prevent Yeast Infection While On Antibiotics

How Long Does Zovirax Take To Work

Whether youre using the oral medication or a topical form of acyclovir like Zovirax, its always best to use it at the first sign of a cold sore. If youve experienced blisters before, youll know your early symptoms better than anyone. They often include things like tingling around the mouth. The earlier youre able to start treatment, the better it will work.

The typical lifespan of a cold sore can be different for everyone. However, in some cases they can last weeks, going through different stages. Acyclovir is designed to significantly speed up the healing process, no matter what stage of the cold sore youre experiencing.

If youre using Zovirax, cover the affected area completely. It is recommended that you use the treatment five times a day, every four hours, for best results. Its also best to use it around the same times each day, for consistency. If you follow these instructions, you should notice that your cold sore healing in just four days. The cream contains an ingredient called MAC-P, which allows it to be absorbed into the skin faster, to speed up the healing time of the blister.

Does Zovirax Have Any Side Effects?

As with any medication that doesnt use completely natural ingredients, there are potential side effects to consider. The most common side effects associated with the oral use of acyclovir include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

Check If It’s A Cold Sore

Cold Sores or Oral Herpes

A cold sore usually starts with a tingling, itching or burning feeling.

Over the next 48 hours:

Cold sores should start to heal within 10 days, but are contagious and may be irritating or painful while they heal.

Some people find that certain things trigger a cold sore, such as another illness, sunshine or menstrual periods.

Other possible causes of your symptoms


Don’t Miss: Antibiotics For Acne Before And After

What You Need To Know

  • Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
  • Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
  • Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
  • The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.

Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.

Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.

What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages

There are dozens of over the counter and prescription cold sore treatment options on the market. Some are oral, some are topical, just like the options here. What makes acyclovir the best for current and future outbreaks? For this pros and cons list, well focus on Zovirax as a topical solution, and what you can expect from regular use when youre treating an embarrassing blister.


  • The cream comes in an easy-dispensing pump to reduce mess.
  • It is clinically proven to speed up the healing time of cold sores.
  • Acyclovir is the key active ingredient, so youre getting the benefits of its antiviral properties without having to take oral medication.
  • You can use it at any stage of a cold sore.
  • If you use it a the beginning stages, it can greatly decrease blister symptoms.
  • The tube is small and portable.


  • Some people may have negative skin reactions.
  • It does require consistent use, every four hours.

The biggest drawback in using Zovirax is that you have to apply it consistently, every few hours. This might not be a problem for some people, but to others, it can be seen as an inconvenience. If youre desperate to get rid of your cold sore, this treatment can get results much faster. Plus, it only takes four days of treatment to be effective. Thats far less than other treatment options that may require a week or more of daily use.

Also Check: Are There Antibiotics For Bronchitis

How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore

Doctors use oral and topical cold sore treatments to ease your pain, slow the growth and spread of the virus, and speed up healing.

There are three ways to use antivirals to fight cold sores, Dr. Brodell explains. One is to treat the virus at the first sign of recurrence using a course of oral or topical medication.

The second is suppressive therapy, meaning you take oral antiviral medicine every day to prevent outbreaks. Lets say youre having outbreaks once a month, every time you get a menstrual cycle or every time you feel stress, Dr. Brodell says. You can give that person a vacation from having their outbreaks with suppressive therapy. This daily oral antiviral therapy is the most effective treatment to prevent outbreaks, Dr. Barankin adds.

A third option is intermittent suppressive therapy for people who can predict their outbreaks. You might get a lip full of blisters every time you go on vacation to sunny Florida, for example. You know youre headed for trouble next time you visit, but you dont want it to ruin your getaway. The solution: Have your doctor prescribe an antiviral medicine that you can take for the week that youre away. Few doctors educate their patients about using suppressive therapy intermittently, says Dr. Brodell, despite the fact that it absolutely works, he insists.

Your doctor might also prescribe Xerese, the first medicine to combine acyclovir and hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication.

How Can I Prevent Spreading Cold Sores To Other People

Cold Sore Treatment | How Abreva® Works

Hygiene is important for people infected with the herpes virus. To help prevent it spreading:

  • do not kiss anyone while you have a cold sore, especially babies
  • do not share anything that comes into contact with a cold sore
  • do not have oral sex until your cold sore completely heals as you could give your partner genital herpes
  • do not touch your cold sores if you do, wash your hands.

Read Also: How Have Antibiotics Changed Society

Make Your Own Cold Sore Solution

Dr. Robinson advises making a cold sore treatment solution with Domeboro, a powder available at drugstores that’s used to help with skin irritation . Just dissolve the tablets or powder in about 12 to 16 ounces of water. Youll notice some gunk at the bottom of the glassthats okay.

Then dunk a thin cloth, like a handkerchief or pillowcase, into the glass. Wring it out and lay it on the blistering area for about 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat two to three times a day until the sores dry out. It takes some effort, but many people find the effort to be worth it.

It sucks the moisture and water out of the blister, says Dr. Robinson. I can get someone who has an outbreak to scab within 3 days using thatwhich otherwise might take a week to 10 days.

Once its dry, stop the soaks and keep the area moist with a topical antibiotic ointment like Neosporin. This helps prevent secondary bacterial infectionmeaning it keeps any opportunistic bacteria from jumping into the broken skin and causing you more troubleand aids the healing process. Another way to keep bacteria outdon’t pop the blister! People pick at anything on their skin, so it can be tempting to do that, says Dr. Young. If you get an additional infection, that not only makes the sore stick around longer it can also lead to scarring.

Hsv Infection Is Very Common

Around 90 per cent of adults have herpes simplex antibodies in their bloodstream, which means that they have been infected with the virus at some time. However, the first infection does not usually cause any symptoms. One-third of infected people experience cold sores, which are a recurrence of the earlier infection and do not indicate recent infection. Most of these people would not have experienced symptoms from the first infection.

Also Check: Can I Buy Antibiotics At The Store

There Is More Than One Type Of Herpes Infection

There are two types of herpes simplex infection: herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 . Cold sores around the mouth are generally caused by HSV-1. Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Cold sores on the mouth can cause genital infection during oral sex for people who do not already carry the cold sore virus. There are many other viruses that are also in the herpes virus family, however the infection and symptoms are different. One example is varicella zoster virus which causes chickenpox and shingles.

How Can You Relieve A Sore Throat Without Antibiotics

What Is A Cold Sore?

Home treatment is often all you need to soothe a sore throat. Try these tips:

  • Gargle often with warm salt water if you are age 8 or older. This helps to reduce throat swelling and pain. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 240 mL of warm water.
  • Drink extra fluids to soothe your throat. Honey or lemon in weak tea may help. Don’t give honey to children younger than 1 year of age.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce fever.
  • Try throat lozenges that have a painkiller to numb your throat. Regular cough drops may also help. Do not give these to children younger than 4 years of age.
  • Try a decongestant. It can make breathing easier and relieve a runny nose and post-nasal drip, which can make your throat hurt. You can take it as a pill or as a nasal spray. Before you use this medicine, check the label. It may not be safe for young children or for people with certain health problems.

Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Don’t Miss: Most Effective Antibiotic For Mrsa

How Can I Stop Cold Sores From Forming

So you nipped your last cold sore flare-up in the bud , and it lasted less than a week but here you are, just a few months later, and the cold sores are back. There’s good news, and then there’s bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.

“Once a person is infected with herpes simplex virus, he or she is infected for life,” says Dr. Brown. “After a cold sore heals, the virus isn’t actually cleared from your body. Instead, the virus travels back into your nerves, where it can lie dormant for long periods of time. When the virus reemerges, it typically does so in the same spot as before.”

So what triggers the virus to reactivate and cause a flare-up?

Dr. Brown says that a cold sore outbreak can be triggered by:

  • Fever

Ease Painful Blisters With These Over

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. Youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Cold sores are uncomfortable and, unfortunately, very common. Up to 80% of the US population has herpes simplex virus antibodies to herpes circulating in their blood, meaning that they have personally been exposed to the HSV virus. You can have these antibodies, but never actually develop a herpes sore on your skin. “About 20-40% of the population will develop at least one lesion in their lifetime, according to Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., FAAD, board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills.

HSV is the virus that causes cold sores. After you’ve been exposed, small amounts of the virus can be shed in the skin, blood, and other body fluids, with or without an active lesion. And when you do have an active cold sore, it is very contagious.

The sore itself may start off looking like a small pimple, which then grows, often starts to weep clear liquid and develops a crust. It can take one to two weeks to heal. It is very contagious while it is wet/crusted.

Here are the best cold sore treatments on the market.

  • Works at first signs of cold sore

  • Safe for children over 12

  • Pricey

  • Dulls pain for 6 hours

  • Can treat canker sores and gum irritations

Also Check: Antibiotic Eye Drops For Dogs Over The Counter

Zilactin Cold Sore Gel

This product contains benzyl alcohol. It can promote healing and relieve pain for up to 6 hours, as it forms a protective layer over the cold sore.

According to the NLM, people should not remove this protective layer, as this can cause skin irritation or tenderness. To remove this layer, people should apply another coat of Zilactin gel and wipe the area straight away.

The manufacturer states that this product is suitable for adults and children aged 2 years and older. However, children should only use this product with adult supervision.

To reduce the spread of HSV, the AAD recommends that people with cold sores avoid:

  • giving or receiving oral sex
  • sharing personal items, such as towels and toothbrushes
  • kissing, as the virus is more contagious when the blisters are open
  • touching the sores
  • sharing foods and beverages with other people

The AAD also suggests that people avoid eating acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, as these can cause pain.

Help Prevent Future Cold Sores

Cold Sore Treatment From Home

Though the virus that causes cold sores does not have a cure, there are measures you can take to prevent outbreaks. These preventive measures include:

  • Understanding your cold sore triggers. Figuring out what sets off your cold sore outbreak can help you keep them away in the long term. Some common cold sore triggers include anxiety, sunburn, exhaustion, hormonal changes, the common cold, or minor scratches or injuries to the lip. You may need to avoid excess sun exposure, find ways to reduce anxiety levels, or take other actions to prevent future outbreaks.
  • Replacing contaminated items. After you go through the healing process and get rid of your cold, make sure to replace your toothbrush, lip balm, and any other items that made contact with your cold sore and are not easily washed and disinfected. The virus that caused your cold sore can live on these items for days and cause your lips to become reinfected.
  • Talking to your doctor or dentist. If you suffer from cold sores often, your doctor or dentist may recommend taking an antiviral medication regularly to help prevent outbreaks. They can also help you identify possible triggers and recommend lifestyle changes to decrease your chances of getting cold sores.

Cold sores can be annoying, painful, and inconvenient. When you have an important event on your calendar, use these tips to get rid of a cold sore fast, prevent future outbreaks, and restore your lovely smile.

You May Like: Fish Aid Antibiotics Metronidazole Tablets

What Causes A Sore Throat

The medical term for a sore throat is pharyngitis. Pharyngitis can be caused by germs like viruses and bacteria. Viruses like the ones that cause the common cold are the most common cause of sore throat.

Some of these viruses include:

  • Throat injury

  • Vocal strain from singing or yelling too much

Antibiotics wont help with most of these causes. In fact, they only help when sore throats are caused by bacteria. Taking antibiotics for a sore throat that isnt caused by bacteria wont help you feel better. Taking unnecessary antibiotics also puts you at risk for side effects related to antibiotics and contributes to antibiotic resistance.

Several bacteria cause pharyngitis. But group A streptococcus is the most common, and its the most significant bacterial cause of sore throat. A sore throat from group A streptococcus is commonly called strep throat. People who have strep throat need to take antibiotics to prevent complications from group A strep infection. Strep throat is usually treated with the antibiotic amoxicillin.

Popular Articles
Related news