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How Do I Treat a Cold Sore in the Nose?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Jan 26, 2024
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The fastest ways to treat a cold sore in the nose is to use an over-the-counter medication and other drying agent, including toothpaste. Most methods will not fully alleviate cold sores, but they may help to speed healing and shorten the duration of the inflammation.

One of the best ways to treat a cold sore that erupts in the nose is to purchase an over-the-counter cream or ointment. These are sold in most pharmacies and act to promote healing and reduce the appearance of the sores. They are usually very affordable and many are safe to use anywhere on the body. Check with a medical professional or pharmacist before using a product in the nose, however, to make sure that it's safe to do so.

It is usually a good idea to avoid many home remedies when treating a cold sore in the nose. Substances like rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover often emit fumes that may be harmful if inhaled. They may also burn the nasal passages and lead to further injury. If you must use a home remedy, you can try a small amount of toothpaste directly on the cold sore. Using an option with a mild scent is generally a good idea.

If you have a cold sore that lasts for more than a week, you should have it checked by a medical professional. In some cases, another medical condition may be to blame. Cold sores are caused by a form of herpes simplex virus, so there are no cures for them aside from your body's own immune system. You may be able to boost your immune function by taking vitamins and other dietary supplements, so you should discuss these options with your healthcare provider.

Other conditions in the nose, such as acne or an injury, may resemble a cold sore. Do not attempt to squeeze or pick a sore, and be sure to wash your hands thorough after applying medication to avoid spreading the infection to other areas of the skin. If the sore begins to drain or ooze, clean the area carefully with warm water and apply an antibiotic ointment to avoid a bacterial infection.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Jun 06, 2014

Not many people are fond of this remedy, but I personally use salt to treat a cold sore in the nose or on the lips. Yes, it burns and irritates a little bit but it dries out the cold sore and reduces its lifespan.

I wash my hands and while my fingers are still wet, I take some salt, rub it slightly and apply it directly on the cold sore. It burns a lot but I keep it on for at least fifteen seconds so that the salt kills the virus. I repeat this several times a day for several days. Salt stops the cold sore and turns it into a dry scab after several days. Healing time goes down by almost half. But it's important to use some vitamin E oil afterward to prevent scarring from the scab though.

By bluedolphin — On Jun 05, 2014

@fify-- I agree with you. It's easy for a popped cold sore inside the nose to spread and cause more cold sores in and around the nose. That's why hygiene is extremely important and if possible, the cold sore should be treated before it turns into an ulcer filled with viral pus.

The first rule to follow is to avoid touching the nose and the blister as much as possible and washing hands often. Secondly, if the cold sore is caught in an early stage, then some supplements and remedies can prevent it from maturing and those should be used. For example, lysine supplements are known to prevent cold sores from maturing when they are taken as soon as the cold sore starts developing.

By fify — On Jun 05, 2014

I've only had a cold sore once, on my lip. It was the most painful thing ever. I can't even imagine how painful it must be to have a cold sore in the nose. And it must spread easily because it's in such a hard to reach area.

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