Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms trigger factors Evaluation Treatment eye infection Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Transmission

Mouth Cold Sore Home Care

Home care for cold sores includes:

  • Apply cold compresses for pain:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Avoid hot, spicy, and salty foods.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid chewing tobacco.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Ibuprofen for pain
  • Oral anesthetics:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Mouth Cold Sore Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with cold sores include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Mouth Cold Sore Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for cold sore pain in children with cold sores include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Mouth Cold Sore Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have cold sores and any of the following:

Continue to Mouth Cold Sore Prevention

Last Updated: Feb 14, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Mouth Cold Sore References
  1. Arduino PG, Porter SR. Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 infection: overview on relevant clinico-pathological features. J Oral Pathol Med. 2008 Feb;37(2):107-21. [18197856]
  2. Elish D, Singh F, Weinberg JM. Therapeutic options for herpes labialis, I: Oral agents. Cutis. 2004 Jul;74(1):31-4. [15293697]
  3. Elish D, Singh F, Weinberg JM. Therapeutic options for herpes labialis, II: Topical agents. Cutis. 2004 Jul;74(1):35-40. [1529369]
  4. Waggoner-Fountain LA, Grossman LB. Herpes simplex virus. Pediatr Rev. 2004 Mar;25(3):86-93. [14993516]
  5. Worrall G. Herpes labialis. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):2312-20. [15865790]
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