What should I do about a scabbed over cold sore?
January 25, 2013 11:42 PM Subscribe
Metafilter has a lot of good advice about cold sore prevention (previously
). What I need is advice on what to do in the middle of a full scale outbreak with a cold sore that has developed an impenetrable scab. Past experience leads me to worry that a new sore will form as soon as the scab falls off, a cycle that can go on for well over a month. Am I doing something wrong? Disgusting personal details inside.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I try to prevent cold sore outbreaks with abreva and lysine supplements, and that usually works pretty well for me. However, when I do get an outbreak it can go on for weeks or even a couple of months. Here's how.
Problem #1: If I get a cold sore that's bad enough to form a scab the scab becomes thick and impenetrable. Abreva becomes useless on that site because there's a layer of leathery armour between the cream and the active part of the sore at skin-level. I can feel it actively tingling way down where I can't reach.
Problem #2: Here's the worst part. From past experience, bad things happen when the scab starts to tear off. A couple of days ago my current scab at the corner of my mouth tore partway off. I was eating a samoza and suddenly discovered that I was bleeding. Putting pressure on it to stop the bleeding left my partially disconnected scab solidly reattached, presumably with dried blood. Also it's now black. Great. Worse, here's what's going to happen when the thing finally does tear off. The skin underneath will be extremely irritated and it's very likely that a new sore will form on the same site. It will scab over, the scab will tear off leaving irritated skin underneath, then another a new sore will form, repeat. That's how this can drag on for over a month: I get one sore after another in the same spot.
- Am I right that Abreva is useless if applied to the outer surface of a scab?
- Is it always a bad idea to touch a scab with the intention of loosening it?
- Is it always a bad idea to pick off a cold sore scab?
- Is there some way of scrubbing a sore when it's at the weeping stage to prevent a scab from forming?
- What am I missing?
Any advice would be welcome. Last time this happened I tried growing a desperation mustache to cover it up. I can't grow a mustache. Please help me avoid resorting to that again.