Online Prescription

Cold Sore Treatments

Ireland’s Award-Winning Online Doctor Service



Customer Review

Impressed! I was sceptical, but needed to get a prescription during the bank holiday when most doctor’s offices were closed – but after signing up I was pretty much immediately connected to a doctor who gave me advice and was able to give me an antibiotic prescription. They even were able to change my pharmacy afterwards because it turned out mine was closed.

—Kasia, 7th June 2022

Cold Sore Treatments That We Can Provide

Cold Sores are small painful blisters that usually occur on the face around the lips, cheeks & nose. They are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), spread through direct skin-skin contact. Antiviral medication can be used to treat HSV infection. It is not a cure for Cold Sores but it can reduce the severity and duration of an outbreak by preventing the virus from multiplying. This also helps to reduce the spread of the virus.

We issue prescriptions for generic name medicines to ensure maximum availability of treatments. Please check your dispensed prescription before leaving the pharmacy as no changes can be made after that point.

  • Oral Antiviral Medication (TABLETS)

How It Works

Requesting a prescription for Cold Sore treatment couldn’t be easier with! We send your prescription to an Irish pharmacy chosen by you.

Step 1

Online Questionnaire

Complete a short and secure online questionnaire from your phone, tablet or laptop – it only takes a couple of minutes.

Step 2

Medical Review

One of our Irish-registered doctors will review your details to make sure this treatment is medically suitable and safe for you. If our doctor requires further clinical information to help safely assess your request, they will send you a message via your secure patient account.

Step 3

Decision Made

Once approved, your prescription will be sent straight to an Irish pharmacy of your choice using secure Healthmail.

Important Medical Information

Who is this service for?

This service is suitable if you :

  • Are 17 years of age or more 

  • Have been previously diagnosed with Cold Sores by a healthcare professional 

  • Require treatment for a current flare of Cold Sores or in preparation for future significant flare 

  • Your Cold Sore lesions are on your lips/ mouth/ chin area

Who is this service not suitable for?

This service is NOT suitable for you if:

  • You are requesting this treatment for another person (that is a person other than the named person on this account)

  • You are pregnant (or suspect you could be pregnant) or breastfeeding

  • This is the first time you have had a Cold Sore

  • You have new lesions that are not where your Cold Sore lesions usually occur

  • You need a prescription for suppression therapy (a longer course of treatment to help prevent flares)

  • You are feeling unwell / have a temperature

  • You have severe kidney disease

  • You are immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system because of certain medical conditions, or medications you are taking)
    Please book a video consultation or speak with your regular doctor as a more detailed clinical history is essential so appropriate treatment is provided; the required medication dose /duration is different to that available via this service.  

  • Your lesions are located in areas other than lips/ mouth/ chin area
    If you have lesions on other areas of your face or inside your mouth, please book a video consultation or speak with your local GP.

If you have lesions on other areas of your face or inside your mouth, please book a video consultation or speak with your local GP.

If you have genital lesions, please use our genital herpes treatment service


What causes Cold Sores?

Cold Sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). This is a common virus and it is spread through direct skin-skin contact. It is very contagious. Most people are exposed to HSV during childhood (after kisses from a family member with the virus) and it is assumed that most adults carry this virus without necessarily having had a Cold Sore. This is called subclinical carrying and is harmless in itself.

Once you have been infected, you carry the virus for life, but may not be aware of it and may not have any further episodes/outbreaks.

Are there different types of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)?
There are 2 different types of HSV that cause Cold Sores, HSV type 1 and HSV type 2; HSV type 1 is responsible for more than 90% of Cold Sores.
HSV type 2 generally causes Genital Herpes, but if it infects skin around the mouth it can cause Cold Sores too.
What are the symptoms of a Cold Sore?
HSV infections are mostly asymptomatic or unrecognised and can be spread, even if there are no Cold Sores/ blisters visible.
Some infections will cause blisters and sores ranging from mild to more severe.
Before Cold Sore lesions appear, they are often preceded by a sensation of pain, burning or numbness. Fluid filled blisters usually appear within 24 hours and weep until they scab over and heal. Episodes are usually mild and self limiting, settling on their own in 7-10 days.
What can trigger a breakout of Cold Sores?

Some people find that certain things/ situations trigger a Cold Sore to reappear including:

  • Feeling unwell eg. with a viral infection or fever

  • Exposure to sunlight & wind 
    (If you feel this is a trigger, apply a high SPF factor moisturising sun cream every day)

  • Stress

  • Fatigue

  • Changes to the immune system

  • Injury to the skin
    (try to avoid dry, chapped lips)

  • Hormonal changes eg. at the start of your period

Can you do anything to stop a Cold Sore from spreading?

Cold Sores are contagious from the moment of the first tingle until they have completely healed. There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of spread to others, or to other areas of your own body:

  • Try not to pick/ touch sores

  • Avoid kissing / skin contact with others

  • Avoid having oral sex (it can  cause genital herpes)

  • Avoid sharing items that come into contact with the Cold Sore lesions: lip balm, towels, eating utensils and other personal items

  • Keep your hands clean: wash your hands carefully before you touch yourself or other people

  • Try to avoid triggers: the best way to avoid spreading Cold Sores is to avoid getting them

  • If you get a warning sign, then act quickly: follow the advice above and consider treatment (creams or medication depending on your individual situation)

Should I avoid others if I have a Cold Sore?

Please be aware that you should be especially careful around those who are immunocompromised (weakened immune system) when you have active Cold Sore lesions, until they heal completely as HSV infection can be potentially very serious for these people.

Extreme caution is required around babies who are at risk of neonatal herpes, a potentially life-threatening condition – do not kiss babies or young children if you have a Cold Sore.

What prescriptions can we provide?

In some cases, antiviral medication is required to manage a flare of Cold Sores, e.g. frequent, severe episodes or if exposed to predictable triggers.

This medication should be taken as soon as possible after the symptoms start,or when you get warning signs (e.g. tingling). 

It is not a cure for Cold Sores but it reduces the severity and duration of the outbreak by preventing the virus from multiplying. This also helps to reduce the spread of the virus.

We can arrange a prescription for antiviral medication for people who have previously been diagnosed with Cold Sores by a healthcare professional for:

  • A current outbreak
  • In preparation for the next recurrence 

This is subject to clinical suitability. 

If you require further information, please contact our team (

What are the potential side effects of antiviral treatment for cold sores?

Some of the side effects:

  • Nausea/ vomiting, diarrhoea or stomach aches
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Photosensitivity (more sensitive to sunlight)
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, or you develop other symptoms which you feel may be related to this medication, please speak with your doctor for advice. For full details of the potential side effects of this medication, please read the patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medication.

Are there topical treatments (cream) for cold sores?
Yes, you can buy a cream that contains antiviral medication over the counter (without a prescription) in your pharmacy. Many people find that if they start this treatment immediately when they feel the first signs of a Cold Sore, such as tingling, that it is very effective.

Please note, you will need a prescription for antiviral tablets.

Important safety information

There are some occasions when you should see a doctor face-to-face via a video consultation or your local GP:

  • If you are pregnant

  • If your lesions have been present for more than 10 days

  • If you are concerned that your lesions are getting worse despite treatment

  • If you develop lesions in a different location to where your lesions usually occur

  • If you have lesions inside your nose/ mouth/ ears, or areas other than you face
    If you have lesions around your eye/ on your eye, please seek URGENT medical assessment 

  • If you have a weakened immune system 

  • If you are feeling generally unwell (e.g. fever, headache, malaise)

These infections are potentially more complex to manage and require a more detailed assessment. 

Why Choose


All of our doctors are registered with the Irish Medical Council and provide convenient and confidential healthcare to our patients.


The same doctor-patient confidentiality exists as in a regular face-to-face consultation, so you’ll be in good hands.

Caring was created by and is led by medical professionals, so patient safety is always our priority.


From the comfort of home, avail of instant access to medical expertise, including evenings & weekends.


Affordable healthcare with prescriptions (subject to clinical suitability) from just €30 and video consultations starting from €49.

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