I was in the 5th grade (see picture below) when I remember getting my first cold sore (about 1973). Since it was my first cold sore, the warning signs (tingling around the mouth) were not something I understood. The next morning, I woke up with a blister on my upper lip. The blisters got progressively worse until 3-5 days later they burst and began to scab over.
My parents took me to the the doctor. He looked at the sore on my upper lip and told them it was a cold sore. They were told to go to the store some Campho-Phenique to put on the scab to soothe any pain but explained there is no known cure for these cold sores.
Now at school, a kid with blisters or a big scab on his upper lip is an anomaly. No kid wants to be different or stand out, I was both with these sores on my mouth. First the kids would ask “What’s that sore on your lip” ? Then I got called all kinds of names to like “VD boy“, “Scabber“, etc. After a couple outbreaks, the teachers sent me to the office to have the nurse check me for a communicable disease such as impetigo and such. I tried to cover up the sores, pop the blisters, pick the scabs… anything to try and make them go away. Nothing worked.
To make matters worse I would get them every 6-8 weeks or so. The typical culprits… stress, spicy foods, sun, hormones. This went on all through my elementary, middle & high school years. Now remember, at this time (late 1970’s) there was no internet to research. If you wanted to look stuff up (do research) you went to an old fashion library with books, film, and research papers. I spent much of the next decade reading everything that was available regarding herpes (cold sores).
So you feel a cold sore outbreak coming (only those of us who have suffered know that “tingly” feeling) and you decide to do some online research. The results…
The treatments tend to fall into the following types, home remedies, creams, ointments, numbing lotions and just waiting for them to heal. Well let’s look at three of the results:
Valacyclovir is a prescription drug used to treat cold sores around the mouth. It claims to reduce the severity and length of cold sore outbreaks. It costs about $25 per month (plus the cost of a doctors visit) and comes with the following side effects.
Abreva is a cream that claims to reduce the length time it takes to heal a cold sore up to 25%. It comes in a (small really tiny tube 0.07 ounce) that costs about $16.99 at your local Wall-Mart.
LED (low intensity laser) is a treatment that claims to reduce both the time to heal and the occurrence frequency of cold sore outbreaks. The products range in price between $90 – $299 and must be carried with you so that when you get that “tingly” feeling you immediately begin to use it to prevent an outbreak.
All of these were listed on the first page when searching. Let me be honest with you, over the years I have gone deep into the google listings (20+ pages) looking for ANYONE who claimed to be able to PREVENT cold sores rather than treat an outbreak. I could not find a single one, that had a viable solution.
I started my journey of a way/product to prevent cold sores (in the 70’s) before ANY of the three options above were around. As a matter of fact the internet wasn’t even around. When I finally discovered how to prevent outbreaks with a tiny inexpensive capsule (non prescription for pennies a day) that could be taken with dinner daily (in the 90’s), these products were not available.
A typical outbreak lasts 7-10 days, and the most optimistic of the top three treatment claims to reduce healing time from 7-10 days to 4-5 days. I don’t know about you but when I suffered from embarrassing cold sores, reducing the time I had to try and cover them up was better than nothing but NOT a solution.