If you’re wondering whether or not to use ice for cold sores, contemplate no more. In this article, I’m going to teach you about the powerful benefits of using ice on cold sores, and I’ll also provide you with a simple, step-by-step plan to safely treat your cold sores with ice therapy.
For a little over a decade of enduring frequent cold sore outbreaks, I had absolutely no idea that ice could be used to treat cold sores.
I was clueless about this remedy.
Then one day my girlfriend at the time felt a cold sore coming on. She immediately got an ice cube out of the freezer, and pressed it gently to her lip.
I said “what are you doing?”
She went on to tell me that sometimes her “ice cube trick” would completely prevent a cold sore, and other times it would at least keep it very small. Ever since that day, I had a new tool in my Cold Sore Treatment & Prevention Toolbox.
Why Does Ice Help Cold Sores?
After learning that ice helps cold sores, the normal question to ask is “Why does ice help cold sores?”
Here are the answers:
- Using ice for cold sores is one way to help control the pain and swelling.
- Ice may also slow down the growth of the herpes simplex virus.
Herpes what?! Okay, you may already know this, but in case you didn’t, let me quickly explain something…
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are groups of small blisters that form on or near the lips. Cold sores are a result of something called herpes simplex virus (HSV).
There are two types of HSV, and both can cause cold sores. HSV-1 typically is responsible for cold sores, and HSV-2 is most often the cause of genital herpes.
However, both types of HSV can cause cold sores or genital herpes.
After primary infection, the virus resides in the associated dorsal root ganglion where it lies dormant until an external stimuli (such as stress or immunosuppression) initiate reactivation of the virus from dormancy.
The virus lives on forever, and that’s why people continue to get cold sores over and over again.
Now lets get back to how ice helps cold sores.
Besides pain relief and reduction of swelling, people use ice for cold sores because the herpes virus requires a moist, warm environment to grow.
If you use ice therapy at the first sign of a cold sore, this could lead to:
- Greatly reducing and/or delaying the cold sore
- Preventing a cold sore altogether
Delaying a cold sore is basically just postponing the inevitable, but if you have a hot date or an important event, this trick is a true lifesaver.
Reducing the size and duration of the cold sore is also a great benefit, but preventing the cold sore from ever appearing is nothing short of a miracle, and I’ve experienced this miracle a few times. Can I get an amen for ice?!
How To Use Ice For Cold Sores
Okay, now that you know ice can be used for cold sores, let’s create a plan for you.
Adhere to the following guidelines when using ice for cold sores:
- Put an ice cub in a Ziploc sandwich bag, and press it up to your cold sore (the Ziploc bag seals out the moisture, while still allowing you to cool the cold sore).
- Hold on the cold sore for 5 minutes on, 10 minutes off, and repeat this cycle at least a few times.
- You can use ice on a cold sore that is already a blister to numb the pain and decrease swelling.
- You can use ice therapy at the first sign of a cold sore (tingle or itch) to hopefully prevent it from occurring, or at minimum reduce the size and shorten the lifespan of your cold sore.
The key to cold sores is to prevent them from forming in the first place.
Thus, I encourage you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Preventing Cold Sores.
It’s free and has absolutely everything you need to know.
If you have any questions on using ice for cold sores, please post them in the comment box below.