How to get rid of a cold sore: 7 unusual ways to banish that blister

Along with stress, cooler temperatures and winter blues can increase the risk of that nasty, painful cold sore...

Just like a common cold, there’s no cure for cold sores, but these seven alternative treatments could calm that tingle before it starts to torment you.

Cold sores are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth and are caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Highly contagious and passed through contact with infected saliva, the virus remains dormant for most of the time, but can be triggered when we’re rundown, stressed, depressed or worsened by cold weather.

They usually clear up without treatment within seven to 10 days, but why suffer from an attack when you could kill it with one of these stress busters.

1. Swallow a supplement

A potential treatment and preventive, lysine (an essential amino acid) can be extremely therapeutic when it’s taken in doses of between 1,000mg to 3,000mg a day during an active herpes outbreak.

2. Savour the flavour of vanilla

Pure vanilla extract can stop that unsightly cold sore coming to the boil.

As soon as you feel a tingle, simply dip a cotton bud in the extract and apply directly to the sore for a few minutes and repeat up to four times a day.

3. Wax it up

It sounds a bit gross, but some people swear by ear wax (cerumen).

Yep, cerumen has been found by scientists to have anti-herpes activity but we may not want to know how you go about smearing ear wax on that nasty legion to make the most of its antiviral properties.

4. Learn to love licorice

Getting to the root of the evil could be made easier with glycyrrhizic acid, an ingredient found in licorice root.

Containing anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, try mixing licorice root powder or extract with Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and leaving a thin coat on the sore overnight.

5. Nail it

Some women swear by applying nail polish remover (acetone) with a cotton swab and holding it there as long as possible. It takes down the swelling and speeds up the healing.  

6. Fresh from the dentist

It may have a sting in its tail, but a dab of toothpaste will dry out a cold sore. And if yours contains baking soda, even better.

This white paste flattens the blister on contact and helps it heal faster.  

7. Milk it for all its worth

Along with being a rich source of calcium, milk contains proteins such as immunoglobulins (antibodies) that ward off viruses. A generous application of ice cold, whole milk works best.

Soak a cotton wool pad and apply directly to the sore and Vaseline can always be used on top to seal in the goodness.

More from BT