1. my mom gets them, and before she feels one coming on she puts oil of oregano on it right away before it starts to come out or get worse. and my dad takes it religiously in the winter every night to prevent colds! pretty powerful stuff 🙂

    • gracefulfitness

      Oil of oregano is one of those things that I always read about but forget to buy, thanks for the reminder!

  2. Jessica

    Thanks for sharing. I haven’t had one in years and besides upping Lysine, I use Abreva ($$, but I think it does work) as well as one other intervention which I have no idea if it works or not, but since it’s free, easy and has no risk, I do it. That is to hold an ice cube over the area that is tingling. I don’t recall who told me about this as a preventative measure, but what the heck, right?

    • gracefulfitness

      I use Abreva and ice as well and it does seem to help! Especially if you catch it early and do some dietary things as well. A piping hot black tea bag pressed on the spot it supposed to help also.

    • Frenchie

      Abreva is a huge waste of money. It offers nothing but emollient comfort. You can get that from almost anything creamy and moisturizing. However, I do know of something other than oregano oil that DEFINITELY andDRAMATICALLY shortens the life and healing time for cold sores/fever blisters. Dribble a few drops of chlorine bleach (yes, good old Clorox) into the cap of the bottle or jug. Take two Q-tips. Dip one end of the Q-tip in the Clorox and press firmly but gently on the cold sore. Feel the sting for a count of fifteen. Splash area with tepid water and blot dry with a clean tissue. Repeat two more times in succession, always using the fresh end of a Q-tip (thus the need for two of them), splashing with water and blotting dry with clean tissue. I promise you will see the cold sore fail to advance and heal much more quickly. As with anything, the sooner you catch it the better. And the sooner you catch it, the less painful the stinging will be. By the way, once you perform this regimen three times in a row in immediate succession, you do not need to do it again. This is NOT necessary on a daily basis during the healing process. Effective and economical!

      • Christine

        I have found Abreva to help me but the past few months I seem to get a new one right in the middle of the healing of the previous one! I am under a lot of stress right now and this whole Trump thing isn’t helping! I have been upping my lysine intake and trying to watch what I eat but I am going to try the oregano oil. I knew about the Arginine but always thought cheese was a no no food but I saw the opposite in the article?

        • gracefulfitness

          Hi Christine, everything I’ve read says that cheese is significantly higher in Lysine than Arginine so if you’ve seen cheese as a no-no maybe it’s because of something else that promotes cold sores?
          I’ve pretty much cut out peanut butter, oats, and chocolate because they seem to have such a strong connection to cold sores for me and it has definitely seemed to decrease the occurance.

        • Jane W.

          Use Benzalkonium Chloride 0.13%. It’s a terrific antiseptic liquid that I just discovered. Dried the cold sore almost immediately. You can buy this bottle at CVS. It is quite drying so start with one or two times a day and that should do it. Get yourself a good lysine, natural or organic, chapstick.

        • Cyndi

          The Trump stress is definitely a factor as I never had one before 2016 and Ive now had about 5 in the past year and 1/2!

  3. Mia

    I have not had experience with cold sores… but I want to say that I really admire how you use food as medicine! I also appreciate how you include a scientific explanation and not just an unexplained “old wives’ tale” (though there can be some truth to that as well)

  4. Mandy

    This post could not have come at a better time. I’ve been struggling with massive outbreaks for the past few years. Abreva helps and I now have a standing prescription for Valacyclovir (generic form of Valtrex – you have to take it immediately when you feel the tingling or it won’t work). To increase Lysine intake in addition to diet, I take L-Lysine supplements. Oh, and I switch from beer to wine. I’m not sure that the ice would help because I think occurrences are related to extreme cold conditions.

  5. anna

    Hi Faith, Great blog! Also wanted to add that you can take l-lysiene supplements 1000mg per day as a super immune booster for run of the mill colds and skin issues. You can take it like echinacea especially when you’re feeling run down. This inconjunction with the dietary changes you mentioned could really help out!

    • Gail Littleton

      I was having the lingering affects of a cold sore for 4 months.My friend told m to take Lysine. I did. 1000 mg 3 x per day. i did this for 5 days and everything cleared up. But I ate some of the high Arginine foods to soon and a few symptoms showed up again. So I am continuing with the L-Lysine and ditching all the high Arginine foods for a few months to really heal up. I am what I eat and absorb.

    • erika

      hi ..yes lysine good but to be taken only when you have a cold sore for a short amount of time because if u take it always it can affect kidneys:/

  6. Nicole

    So glad you posted about this! I don’t get cold sores but I have the other spectrum of the virus… I haven’t paid much attention to how my diet affects outbreaks because I don’t get them that often but I will definitely start doing more research on it.

    • gracefulfitness

      My outbreaks don’t happen often enough to change my everyday diet but I definitely find it worth it to do a short-term “cold sore diet” if I feel one coming on. As far as everyday goes I do stay aware of balancing my high arginine foods with my high lysine foods. If I realize that I’ve been eating peanuts, oats, and chocolate everyday I make sure to balance it with nutritional yeast, eggs, veggies, and cheese and maybe take a lysine supplement.

  7. Tiffany

    I have also gotten cold sores since I was a kid. Luckily I don’t get them very often now, and taking lysine supplements if I feel one coming on usually prevents it. I didn’t realize that excess arginine was a trigger. I knew about stress and sun but didn’t consider how nutrition was involved. Interesting post.

  8. I used to be plagued by cold sores every few months, without fail. Since becoming more active and cleaning up my diet I’ve only had two in the last three years. TWO! When I notice the tingle, I begin supplementing with a Lysine tablet. You can find them at most drugstores and they cut the amount of time you suffer with the cold store dramatically!

    • gracefulfitness

      I’m so glad you’ve found some relief! I take lysine pretty regularly and up my dose if I feel a tingle (and use the topical stuff too).

  9. I commented on this post previously but I wanted to quickly write once more… About 10 days after you posted this, I felt a cold sore coming on, so I quickly started paying closer attention to my diet. I cut back on the arginine foods and ate more foods with lysine and took a lysine supplement. Within two days the beginnings of the cold sore had vanished! I was thrilled. Not until reading this post did I ever know there might be a way to “prevent” cold sores. I usually only get about two cold sores a year, but they’re so bothersome when they do happen that I think I’ll start taking the lysine supplement a bit more regularly now. Thank you SO much for this great tip!!

  10. john

    This post is bang on..!

    I used to get outbreaks in nose every 6 weeks, with really big blisters. Changed my diet and now get a bad outbreak maybe once or twice a year only!! Can still feel the virus lurking, but can stop it dead in its tracks 99% of the time now, great relief.

    The bottom line is this, the virus needs arginine to thrive, replace the arginine with lysine and you take the legs out from under it, big time.

    The basics…OUT…goes chocolate (sorry girls), porridge & oats, nuts of any description & seeds etc, and switch to decaf tea or coffee (you get used to it).

    IN…natural yogurt…can’t stress this enough, it has worked wonders for me, 1-2 pots a day…I have one with breakfast and one with tinned mangoes as a dessert later in the day (the mangoes are also high in lysine), also in is lots of cheese & other dairy products, and fish 1-2 times a week. I was never a fish fan but I am now! I work as a truck driver so the best way I find to get fish in the diet (without the trouble of cooking it) is eat it off the menu in some diner/restaurant for lunch. If you feel an outbreak coming on (I get fatigued, eyes sensitive to light, numbness in face & headache) start taking L-Lysine tablets as well as the above steps, and apply some cold sore cream on to the affected skin.

    Trust me, you will blitz these sores by these simple steps. Your number of outbreaks will tumble, and when you do let one get through your defences (normally by being lazy and eating the wrong stuff), your outbreak will be in full retreat after two days not two weeks…

    Give it a try you’ve nothing to lose…and good luck!!

  11. George

    My advice is to always keep an unopened pack of Zovirax in your home. Once you feel the tingle, apply every 4 hours to prevent the outbreak.

    And generally, find a few Lysine rich foods you like and eat them more frequently (Yogurts, Cheese, eggs, chicken, apples, etc), while avoiding overloading on Argenine rich foods (Chocolate, Caffeine, beer, Wheat, etc).

    Personally, am going to try using Lysine supplements too.

    On a final note, it would be wise to stay healthy by getting enough rest, exercise regularly to build immune system, and just avoid situations that stress you out

  12. Juliana

    I have found megadoses of vitamin c to be very useful when I feel the first tingle of a cold sore on my lips. It stops them in their tracks. 2000mg 3 times a day or so for a day or 2 up to a week. I really appreciate your blog. It is very educational.

  13. Mate

    A 3 dose once off tablet that you take when you feel the tingle it stops it in it’s tracks you can buy over the counter I always keep them with me – aciclovir

    • Huibs

      I have been prescribed this by my dermatologist to use one per day for 6 months, increasing the dose to 3 daily whenever I feel an outbreak coming on. It’s been 6 months since I stopped using it and I haven’t had an outbreak at all since the first couple of months of taking Acyclovir daily.

  14. Sara

    Coconut oil works just as good, if not better, than anti-viral ointments. I had to give the anti-virals up when I was pregnant and won’t use them again. When you feel the tingle, apply ample amounts of virgin coconut oil on your lips several times a day and most of the time an outbreak can be avoided if you catch it soon enough!

  15. Art

    I’ve found by trial and error that a combination of abreva and TEA TREE OIL works really well. Didn’t try tea tree oil until my latest cold sore and it was magical. Only get 2-3 a year and this time was by far the shortest duration of having one. I plan to try oregano oil paired with tea tree oil next time and bail on the abreva. Also take the super lysine supplement which can be found on Amazon, lots of good natural stuff in it. Heard Vitamin E oil works really well too. It’s like anything else, we’re all different and may react differently to certain things so find what works best for you and stick with it.

  16. John

    Valtrex changed my life for cold sores. I carry it with me at all times, so when I feel that tingle, i take the 1st dose immediately. It will either prevent the outbreak completely, or keep it in check so its completely gone in 2-3 days (totally avoiding scabbing up) instead of 10-14 days.

  17. P A N

    The Chinese herbal formula Yin Chao chow is an absolute miracle if I feel the tingle coming on I take large doses of this for a day or two and it’s the only thing I’ve ever found that will actually stop a fever blister and the accompanying neuralgia full stop. It’s available and natural pharmacies or through acupuncturists, naturopaths or chiropractor

  18. atlantis

    Thanks Everyone!! I’m dealing with them now began last week I do the bleach thing it went a way got two more and one smaller Yes three! don’t like them feel so nasty I only use some antibiotic ointment this time I’m just discussed ointment actually helped I’m going to get diet in check and more rest and start back exercising start taking lysine hopefully they go away forever!

  19. T

    When I completely avoid almonds and peanut butter, I’m good! Thanks for sharing,

    High stress days with too much coffee and a bit of almonds is a recipe for disaster.

  20. Nagla owies


    April 19, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I get these blisters a lot! Back to back, before one heals, the other one is popping up! I also have cut down on the amount of time but not with bleach, I soak a tiny cotton ball with vinegar ( white ) and cover the blister area for about 15 to 20 minutes at first tingle and repeat if necessary. It was extremely effective and shrunk it instantly (it would scab and just shrink) but lately it doesn’t work as well (not sure why) so these above posts are extremely helpful! I’m going to try them all !! Thank you for all these suggestions.

  21. aj thomas

    One of the best cures I have found is DMSO apply@ first tingle its possible that it was gone the next day. Also for simplex2 herpes. Read about it. You can get it@ health food stores. The best I ever used

  22. Brittney

    Ok.. so, the ice thing.. I have tried this at the start of feeling the tingling, and the tiny beginning of a cold sore, never grew.. just stayed a tiny dot and was gone 3 or 4 days later. However, this time when I tried it (and possibly because I had a very high fever, was throwing up all night and could barely move) the blister just got pissed and didn’t show up where I put the ice but popped up in THREE other places!!!
    Again I think because I was so sick this time, it was going to show up no matter what. But when it’s just a little cold, the ice seems to work.

  23. magda mcvay

    I get them often and use a lipstick with Herpecin L as soon as i feel like one is trying to break through. I use the lipstick several times per day which makes it go away in a day or 2. I never get a full blown out case any more. God sent.

  24. DJ

    Dehydration and PH balance are big factors, I’ve found. Stay hydrated, and monitor the acid/alkaline in your system with urine test strips: cheap & easy to do. Baking soda in water works when too acidic; follow directions on box. Thx to everyone for all the good info!

  25. Grant

    Acyclovir (prescription) is THE MOST AMAZING TREATMENT IN THE WORLD.

    Releev (topical ointment/drops)

    Lots of ibuprofen (like really a lot. More than you would expect. I take 6 at a time, 2-3 times a day right when I feel the tingle. This has been approved by a doctor and is only done for a couple days so don’t worry about effects of prolonged usage.)

    Lysine pills


    If it gets to the point of being a nasty blister, pop it with a sterilized needle and douse it with hydrogen peroxide. That dries it up pretty quickly.

  26. Chris Whisenand

    Valtrex ( generic name Valacyclovir ) is an amazing medicine whenever you feel a fever blister starting. This is a perscription medicine that is much more effective than Acyclovir. Take 2 tablets as soon as you feel the fever blister, then 2 more 12 hours later. It stops it dead in its tracks -the blister will never develop! This is NOT to be taken if you are pregnant or may be pregnant!!
    Also my dentist has a lazer with which he can zap a beginning fever blister. It prevents it from developing and hopefully keeps future blisters from forming in the same spot.

  27. John

    I suffer from a cold sore twice a year but already cut chocolate from my diet. I travelled to a cold place, ate chocolate and nuts over Xmas and got a cold sore.

    Found this site as I want to get rid of them for good. I already ordered 1000mg lysine tablets and going to cut peanut butter and almonds but is it really necessary to cut oats?

    • gracefulfitness

      Hi John,

      I definitely attribute an outbreak to that perfect storm of factors, as it seems like you do as well (the stress of traveling, cold, nuts, and chocolate). My theory, that is holding up for me, is that if I am very tuned into my overall health and stress levels then there are times that I can “get away” with eating high arginine foods. Oats are the kind of thing I prefer to eat everyday rather then as a “treat” like popcorn or chocolate so it was best for me to just cut them out.
      That said, I don’t think any of this foods need to be completely eliminated or treated like an allergy, just perhaps maybe increased awareness of their potential effect on your body.

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