Popping a cold sore with a needle is often done to expedite the healing process, but it has many risks. You will be releasing a highly-infectious liquid that could quickly spread the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) to other areas of the face. It can also lead to infection or permanent scarring.

It’s understandable that you want a ‘quick fix’ to look better instantly. Most people want their cold sores gone because they’re painful and make you feel self-conscious. It is this rush to heal straight away that causes so many issues for fever blister sufferers.

Patience is a virtue with respect to cold sore recovery. Attempting to drain an open blister, even with a sterile needle, will likely extend the recovery period and cause future problems. It is much safer to cover up the reddened and swollen area invisibly with a Compeed cold sore patch.

In this guide, you will learn about the dangers of bursting cold sores with a needle or another sharp instrument. Additionally, we will outline some medically proven ways of healing your sores faster (in as little as 72 hours!) with FDA-approved OTC treatments.

Is it Safe to Drain a Cold Sore with a Needle?

If the needle has not been previously used and has been sterilized accordingly, the initial process is likely to be relatively safe. The problem is connected to the HSV1-infected liquid that you’re releasing and potentially spreading the virus to areas around your mouth, chin, nose, and cheeks.[1] You can even spread the herpes virus to the tips of your fingers, known as herpetic whitlow.

If left alone, a cold sore will typically heal in just under two weeks. Before attempting to interfere with the natural healing process, you must assess the situation. Will I be able to tolerate the pain? What if the needle is not properly sterilized? How will I feel if I spread the virus? What will I do if it causes scarring? These are critical questions that you must ask yourself before attempting to drain a cold sore blister.

You should never manipulate your cold sores in this fashion. Except for applying a proven over-the-counter (OTC) treatment, the “hands-off” approach is best. Don’t pop a cold sore or drain a fever blister with a needle.

To summarize:

  • Cold sores should never be manipulated under any circumstances, other than applying a healing medication or patch. The old saying, “just because you can, does not mean you should” applies in this case.
  • Cold sores will usually heal naturally in less than two weeks.[2] This simple fact is critical to remember before you consider bursting a fever blister. If you run into problems after popping an open blister, you could prolong the healing process and create additional issues in the future.

What Are the Risks of Popping a Cold Sore?

The risks of popping a blister are wide-ranging, and it can lead to cold sore complications. Because cold sores follow a natural healing cycle, attempting to modify that process can lead to issues in the future.

Concerning popping a sore with a needle, one of the problems is the disruption of natural healing. Fever blisters will naturally burst when the time is right. Typically just days after appearing. Any form of outside manipulation can halt the healing process.

Once your blister has been popped, another risk involves viral spreading. Not only to others but different locations on your own body. While cold sores are contagious from the initial symptom until healed, popping a sore only makes matters worse. Although not a pleasant visual, the fluid within the blister has to go somewhere. That spreading could prompt a more significant problem than your original outbreak.

Finally, popping a blister can potentially cause bleeding. This is especially true if you puncture the entire blister and penetrate the skin underneath. If this occurs, you have introduced yet another problem. Not only do you have an open cold sore but you have damaged the delicate and tender skin underneath. This act alone can lead to scarring once the blister finally heals.

Can Draining or Popping a Cold Sore Lead to Infection?

In addition to the risks noted above, one of the worst outcomes that can occur is an infection. Whether caused by a contaminated needle or just the basic act of bursting the blister, an infection can lead to other issues. Delayed healing time, more aggressive treatment, and new blisters are just some of the consequences.

When it comes to dealing with a cold sore, patience is critical. Although fever blisters can be annoying and quite painful, practicing restraint can save you a lot of grief. Attempting to take matters into your own hands can result in bacteria and germs compromising the sore.

Although most infections will calm naturally, some infections are more intense than others. This is especially true in an infection has taken place during your first cold sore outbreak. If your treatment is no longer working, we encourage you to consult a physician.

To summarize:

  • Popping your blisters can lead to the introduction of bacteria, thus causing infection. Using a contaminated needle can obviously be problematic but so can any form of manipulation.
  • Although most infections merely delay healing and increase existing symptoms, some infections are more dangerous. If your current treatment, such as Abreva, is failing to work we encourage you to try an alternative. One option is HERP-B-GONE, which can shorten the recovery time to 72 hours.

Should I Burst a cold sore with a needle?

What Are the Alternatives to Bursting a Fever Blister?

When dealing with a cold sore, it is vital to understand that attempting to skip (healing) steps can lead to new problems. If you are searching for an instant fix, you will not find it. You can recover faster, but you will always need to show some patience.

Although there are many alternative remedies and various healing techniques, some are dangerous. This is especially true if the healing measure involves physical manipulation. Attempting to burst your sore or remove it all together is simply inadvisable.

It is vital to remember that your primary goal should be to expedite the healing process and not initiate a removal process. While there are numerous ways to remove a sore, the outcome could potentially land you in the emergency room.

To recap:

  • The alternative to bursting a sore is to leave it alone. Treatment is the key. FDA-approved solutions and prescriptions medications from a doctor are the best options to seek. If you use them when you experience a tingling sensation on the lips, you could heal in just days.[3]
  • Many quick fix cold sore solutions are risky. While most natural remedies are OK regarding safety, if not effectiveness, physical manipulation is problematic. The objective is not the removal, but faster and safer healing. Attempting to remove a blister should never be attempted.

What is the Fastest Way to Heal a Cold Sore?

The most effective way to heal a cold sore is through safe practices. Less is more when it comes to healing a cold sore. Rubbing, picking, and poking at your blister will only serve to make your outbreak more disheartening and painful.

Selections such as the Virulite Electronic Device, HERP-B-GONE, and Orajel are all worthy choices that can promote fast healing. In fact, your blisters could be gone in as little as 72 hours in many instances. This is yet another reason why attempting to drain your blister is counterproductive.

Although cold sores can be somewhat of a burden, overreaction can lead to more issues. The fastest way to heal fever blisters involves medication and patience. It does not involve needles and trendy shortcuts that are likely to fail.

To summarize:

  • The quickest way to heal a cold sore is through the application of a proven treatment. Because cold sores are so common, the market for treatment has never been greater. We encourage you to shop for proven gels and electronic laser devices before introducing risky tactics.
  • Cold sores, with an effective medication, can potentially be a distant memory in just days.

Cold sore OTC products aren’t a miracle cure, but they do work. The search for the latest trend or alternative will only introduce more grief. While cold sores can certainly be a burden, healing fever blisters is quite simplistic. No needles required. Attempting to reinvent the wheel can only lead to more unwanted days of discomfort and future complications. Use the Virulite Electronic Device and recover faster.


  1. Arora R, Chattopadhyay S, Agrawal S, Chatterjee S. Self-inflicted herpetic whitlow. BMJ Case Reports. 2014;2014:bcr2013201817. doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-201817.
  2. Worrall G. Herpes labialis. BMJ Clinical Evidence. 2009;2009:1704.
  3. Cunningham A, Griffiths P, Leone P, et al. Current management and recommendations for access to antiviral therapy of herpes labialis. Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology. 2012;53(1):6-11. doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2011.08.003.