Cold sores

Cold sores are painful lesions, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), which appear on or around the lips. See below for more information and effective cold sore treatments.

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Available Treatments


Zovirax (Aciclovir )

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  • Helps cold sores heal faster
  • Prevents the spread of the virus
  • Available from our UK registered pharmacy
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Aciclovir cream

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  • Speeds up the healing time of cold sores
  • Slows the growth of the virus
  • Next day, discreet delivery from our UK pharmacy
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What are cold sores?

Cold sores are small, fluid-filled blisters which typically appear around the mouth.

They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), which is contagious. While you have an outbreak of cold sores, the virus can be passed on through kissing or sharing kitchen utensils, such as cutlery or glassware.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that two thirds of the world population carry HSV-1.

While herpes can be passed on through sexual intercourse, it is unusual for HSV-1, the strain of virus which causes cold sores, to be spread this way.

What are the symptoms of herpes (HSV-1)?

While it is not uncommon for a herpes infection to cause no noticeable symptoms during it's inactive phase, there are a number of symptoms which can develop shortly after the initial infection.

First-time outbreaks of herpes are usually worse than future outbreaks.

Symptoms of first-time outbreaks may include:

  • Fever
  • Gum erosion and pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Small blisters on or around the lips (Cold sores)
  • Sore throat

If you are experiencing a cold sore for the first time, or if your cold sore is particularly large or painful, you should speak to your doctor for appropriate advice.

Future outbreaks may not be accompanied by any of the symptoms listed above, aside from a visible cold sore on or around the lips.

When is it contagious?

The virus is most contagious when a cold sore is present, but can also be passed on from the moment the signs that a cold sore is developing to the time the cold sore heals.

While the cold sore is present, the virus can be passed on with anything that comes into contact with the cold sore, including kitchen utensils, glassware, towels or cosmetics such as lipstick.

Herpes, the virus responsible for these unsightly lesions, is not always active. During its inactive phase, the virus resides in the nerves of the spin. HSV-1 may lay dormant for weeks, months or even years before causing another outbreak.

Are there any warning signs of cold sores?

Some people notice a tingling or stinging sensation at the site at which the cold sore will appear. In many cases, it's not apparent that the virus has affected the skin until a cold sore appears.

It is unlikely that you will experience any other symptoms during recurrent outbreaks of cold sores.

If you suspect a cold sore may be forming, you should take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus to other people.

What causes cold sores to come back?

There are a number of triggers which may cause cold sores to appear.

Possible triggers include:

  • Changes in hormones
  • Cold temperatures
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Viral or bacterial infections and fever

Can you prevent cold sores from appearing?

Using antivirals, while the cold sore is in its early stages of development, can speed up the recovery time, but cannot be used to prevent the formation of future cold sores.

Once HSV-1 is present in your body, it is near impossible to completely prevent a cold sore from appearing.

What treatments are available for cold sores?

Prescription Doctor offers two cold sore treatments online:

Both of these treatments contain an antiviral known as aciclovir. Once administered, aciclovir slows down the virus' ability to replicate itself, resulting in a faster recovery.

While Aciclovir and Zovirax help to speed up the healing process of cold sores around the mouth, they do not eradicate the virus from the body or prevent future outbreaks.

You can buy aciclovir cream online from Prescription Doctor following a quick consultation with our doctor. If the doctor approves your order, your item will be dispensed by our UK regulated pharmacy and dispatched via our discreet, next-day delivery service.

Table of contents

What are cold sores?

When is it contagious?

Are there any warning signs of cold sores?

What causes cold sores to come back?

Can you prevent cold sores from coming back?

What treatments are available for cold sores?