Stop Cold Sores Before They Break Out

You really can stop cold sores (fever blisters) before they erupt–without resorting to any of the risky remedies posted on various websites. My simple solution is based on the concept of transdermal absorption. Don’t underestimate what can be absorbed through your skin.

Estimates of the rates of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection vary widely from sixty to ninety percent worldwide, and from about twenty percent of American children to over eighty-five percent of senior citizens. Therefore, it appears that most of us will suffer from this nuisance sooner or later. There is really no reason for embarrassment, other than the cosmetic effect and the fact that cold sores seem to appear when we are already stressed about something else.

Although there is said to be no cure, many products are available for shortening the duration and making us more comfortable in the meantime. But the remedy I have discovered beats that hands down. You can put a stop to them before they break out!

As soon as you feel the unmistakable tingling sensation and bump under the skin, you can stop it short. All you need is a cotton swab soaked with mouthwash containing at least 14% alcohol. Hold it gently on the spot for at least five minutes. This should allow enough time for the alcohol to soak through your skin or lip and destroy the pesky virus. Dabbing it on does not work. You must keep the spot wet long enough to allow the alcohol to soak in. The treatment can be applied from inside the mouth also, if needed.

You could even use vodka (plain ethyl alcohol). It doesn’t have to be full strength. It could be diluted with two parts of water and still be strong enough to kill the virus. Please do not use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) for this purpose. It is much too strong and is not recommended for use around the mouth, according to the poison control centers in America.

If a cold sore has already broken out, alcohol would probably be painful–even if it is diluted. I am sorry I don’t have any recommendation for that.  Ever since I devised this way to stop cold sores before they start, I have not had to deal with that phase.

Recently I read that the virus which causes cold sores on the mouth can contribute to Alzheimer’s or dementia; and it is best to treat any outbreaks as quickly as possible–to make the virus return to the dormant stage. You probably don’t need any extra motivation to rid yourself of a cold sore, but that is something to think about.

If you find this tip to be effective, please tell a friend. This simple remedy deserves to go viral (pun intended). This article may be shared freely; but please give credit to the author, Carole Ramke, and reference this blog or my website at

If you ever have colds or respiratory allergies, you might be interested in my simple methods for stopping those symptoms as soon as they start.  My book, How to Stop Colds, Allergies & More, is available for $9.99 at or through major bookstores.

13 thoughts on “Stop Cold Sores Before They Break Out

  1. Carole Ramke Post author

    Please report back when you have a chance to try it. I got a little split in my bottom lip a few weeks ago and woke up with it tingling the next day. I had to soak it with 14% alcohol several times before it completely healed–but it never broke out enough to be noticed. Recently I read a blog about making a paste of baking soda to draw out an erupted blister, so I plan to try that also if I should have a similar situation.

  2. tehilalilly

    Thanks Carole, very interesting. Do you have any remedies for mouth ulcers especially if you have HIV? Have been using the mouth wash. The ulcers tend to come up in the same place especially if i have sugar

    1. Carole Ramke Post author

      I had problems with mouth ulcers years ago. Most sources say the cause is unknown, but my personal opinion is that they are caused by deficiencies. I always had good luck with an Adele Davis remedy which was to take 100 mg. of niacinamide with each meal. My ulcers always disappeared after just one tablet. Other people said they had good results by taking lysine.

      I remember getting mouth ulcers after eating lots of fresh tomatoes. I thought that was because they were acid. But tomatoes are highly recommended by nutritionists, and vegetables are said to make the body more alkaline. My current guess is that it could have something to do with the fact that tomatoes and the other nightshade plants are not recommended for people who have inflammation problems. I think sugar causes inflammation also. Vitamins C and D3 can help with inflammation.

    1. Carole Ramke Post author

      I am glad you asked. On I found the following explanation:
      “While both forms of alcohol are flammable, the major difference between Ethyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol lies in what they are composed of–especially their main ingredient–and their uses. In the case of Ethyl alcohol, this main ingredient is ethane which is found in corn and with Isopropyl it’s propane. Ethyl alcohol is used in drinking such as spirits, tonics, liquor, beer, and ales and means it can be ingested. Isopropyl on the other hand is mainly used as a medicinal and sanitary agent such as rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and soaps among other things meaning there is no form that can be ingested.”
      So rubbing alcohol is used externally only, since it is made from propane. For me personally, since becoming aware of how easily liquids are absorbed through the skin, I try to avoid absorbing any toxins that way. Some examples are fluoride in bath water, toxic chemicals like parabens, SLS and fragrances in personal products, etc. So in my opinion vodka would be preferable to rubbing alcohol for any use on the skin.

    1. Carole Ramke Post author

      Probably any type of drinking alcohol would be okay, or you could use Cepacol mouthwash, which has about 14% alcohol. I would not use rubbing alcohol because it is made from propane.

  3. Christy Boelman

    I am holding mouthwash with 21 percent alcohol on a cotton ball on my lip as we speak. It started yesterday tingling and I started putting tree oil on it and vicks vapor rub. It must be doing something cause its burning pretty strong. lol Hope this works, I get these fever blisters at least 3 to 5 a year. I have suffered from them since I was 3 years old. Every school picture shows me with one. I have even shared them with my husband. When I had my son I had 13 of them at one time it was so painful and I was so sick, never had that happen again but it was torture and I had to wear a mask to keep from giving them to him. Thanks for this information. I will post if it helps.


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