Cold Sore Treatments
Ireland’s Award-Winning Online Doctor Service
—Kasia, 7th June 2022
Cold Sore Treatments That We Prescribe
Brands We Offer
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.
How It Works
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 require a prescription for a medication other than Aciclovir tablets
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/ AROUND YOUR EYE, PLEASE SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ASSESSMENT.
If you have genital lesions, please use our genital herpes treatment service.
What causes Cold Sores?
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)?
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?
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)
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).
We can arrange a prescription for Aciclovir as a treatment 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.
We are not able to issue prescriptions for other antiviral treatments via this service.
What is Aciclovir?
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.
What are the potential side effects of Aciclovir?
- Nausea/ vomiting, diarrhoea or stomach aches
- Photosensitivity (more sensitive to sunlight)
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 pharmacist or 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.
What is Zovirax?
Zovirax is a branded version of the medication that we prescribe, Aciclovir.
It is available as a cream and a tablet.
You can buy the cream over the counter (without a prescription). 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.
You will need a prescription for Zovirax tablets (Aciclovir). For further information on how these work, please see the above section ‘What is Aciclovir?’.
Please note the prescriptions we issue are for Aciclovir.
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 Webdoctor.ie?
Affordable healthcare with prescriptions from just €25 and video consultations starting from €35.
Webdoctor.ie In The Media
As Ireland's leading online doctor service, Webdoctor.ie is regularly featured in the national media.
Want to know more about us?
Visit our media page