Q: What do I need to remember about Cold Sores / Fever Blisters? Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus; usually Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1). There is no cure for herpes. The cold sore virus is very contagious during a lesion, but it can be present even if a cold sore is not. People with cold sores need to guard against unintentional transmission to others. This is best done by avoiding kissing of others, washing your hands frequently, and by making sure to avoid touching other parts of your body after touching your cold sore. Another useful suggestion is to treat your cold sore with a cold sore medication to reduce the time that it is contagious.
There are treatments available from your doctor or your dentist. You can also buy over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to treat your cold sore. Rx treatments act to interfere with viral reproduction and are only available with a prescription. Some OTC drugs act as skin protectants. Some have an anesthetic to reduce the pain.
A new type of cold sore treatment has recently been introduced that capitalizes on the microbicidal effects of its active ingredient (benzalkonium chloride) to directly act on the cold sore virus. This treatment is available as Viroxyn.
If you wonder what is best for you, you should ask your doctor or dentist.