If you suffer from cold sores, you’re not alone—nearly 90% of the world’s population is infected with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). And while there’s no cure for HSV, there are treatments that can help shorten the duration of a cold sore outbreak and lessen the severity of symptoms. One such treatment is Zovirax cream, an antiviral medication that helps to speed up the healing process.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss about how to use Zovirax cream for cold sores. But before we do that, let’s briefly go over some basics.

What are Cold Sores? 

Cold sores are small, painful blisters that typically form on the lips or around the mouth. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and are usually characterized by tingling, itching, or burning sensations 24 to 48 hours before the blister appears. Cold sores typically last for 7 to 10 days and heal without scarring. 

How Does Zovirax Cream Work? 

Zovirax cream contains aciclovir, an antiviral medicine that helps to speed up the healing process by preventing the herpes simplex virus from multiplying. It’s available in pharmacies and supermarkets without a prescription and can be used to treat both first and recurrent episodes of cold sores. 

Now that we’ve gone over some basics, let’s get into how to apply Zovirax cream for cold sores. 

How to Apply Zovirax Cream for Cold Sores?

Applying Zovirax cream is easy, but there are a few things you need to do before applying the cream to make sure it works as effectively as possible. Let’s go over what you need to do before applying Zovirax cream, how to apply it, and how often you should be applying it. 

Before Applying Zovirax Cream?

Before applying Zovirax cream, you should wash your hands and the area around the cold sore with a mild soap or cleanser. This will help to make sure the cream is able to penetrate the skin more effectively. Then, pat the area dry with a soft cloth or tissue. 

How to Apply Zovirax Cream?

Once the area is clean and dry, you can apply a thin layer of the cream directly onto the cold sore. Make sure that you cover the entire affected area, but be careful not to rub or irritate it. Allow the cream to absorb into the skin, and then wash your hands. 

How Often Should You Apply Zovirax Cream?

It’s important to apply Zovirax cream at least five times a day, preferably every three hours. This will help speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of symptoms. The cream should be applied for four to five days or until the cold sore has completely healed. 

How Long Does the Treatment Last?

Zovirax cream typically begins to work within 24 hours of application. And while the duration of treatment can vary depending on individual cases, it typically takes four to five days for the cold sore to fully heal.

How Long Should You Use Zovirax Cream For?

It’s important to use Zovirax cream for the full duration of your cold sore treatment, even if the symptoms subside after a few days. This will help to prevent the virus from spreading and reduce the chances of a recurrent outbreak. 

Treatment should be initiated at the earliest sign or symptoms of a cold sore, such as tingling, itching, or burning. As mentioned above, you should apply the cream at least five times a day. If cold sores persist beyond ten days, consult your healthcare professional.

How to Discontinue Zovirax Cream?

Zovirax cream should be discontinued when the cold sore has healed completely or when symptoms have resolved. This means that the area should be free from any signs of infection, such as itching, tingling, or burning. There should also be no visible redness or swelling. 

What Are Other Uses of Zovirax Cream?

In addition to treating cold sores, Zovirax cream can also be used to treat the following conditions:

Helps to Treat Genital Herpes

Zovirax cream can be used to treat genital herpes, which is caused by HSV 2. It helps to reduce itching, burning, and redness associated with the infection. 

Helps to Treat Chickenpox

Zovirax cream can also be used to treat the chicken pox virus. It works by reducing the itching, redness, and swelling associated with the virus. It can also help to limit the spread of the infection. 

Helps to Treat Shingles

Zovirax cream is also effective against the shingles virus. It helps to speed up the healing process, reduce pain and itching, and prevent the virus from spreading.

What Special Precautions Should I Follow?

When using Zovirax cream, there are a few special precautions you should be aware of. 

Avoid Contact With Eyes And Mucous Membranes

When applying Zovirax cream, be sure to avoid contact with your eyes and any mucous membranes. If the cream comes in contact with these areas, rinse immediately with water. 

Do Not Use If You Are Allergic To Any Ingredients In Zovirax Cream

If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Zovirax cream, do not use it. It is important to read the label and check the ingredient list before using any medication. 

Discontinue Use If You Experience Any Side Effects

If you experience any adverse side effects or reactions while using Zovirax cream, discontinue use and seek medical advice. 

Do Not Share The Cream With Anyone Else

Do not share Zovirax cream with anyone else, as this can increase the risk of spreading the virus. 

Keep Out Of Reach Of Children

As with any medication, it is important to keep Zovirax cream out of the reach of children. 

Cleanse Your Hands After Applying The Cream

After applying Zovirax cream, be sure to cleanse your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This will help to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Store The Cream Away From Heat And Moisture

It is important to store Zovirax cream in a cool, dry place away from direct heat and moisture. This will help to maintain the effectiveness of the medication. Do not freeze or expose to direct sunlight. 

What Special Dietary Instructions Should I Follow?

If you’re using Zovirax Cream for Cold Sores, following a few simple dietary guidelines can help you heal faster and avoid triggering future outbreaks.

Follow A Balanced Diet To Ensure Proper Nutrition

Your body needs proper nutrition to fight off infection and promote healing. So, make sure you’re eating a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. If you’re not sure how to create a balanced diet, talk to a registered dietitian or your doctor.

Increase Your Intake Of Foods That Are Rich In Vitamin C And Lysine

Vitamin C is an immunity-boosting nutrient that can help shorten the duration of cold sore outbreaks. Foods that are high in Vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale. Lysine is an amino acid that has been shown to help prevent cold sore outbreaks. Good sources of Lysine include legumes, soybeans, yogurt, cheese, and meats like chicken and turkey.

Avoid Foods That May Trigger Cold Sore Outbreaks

There are some foods that may trigger cold sore outbreaks in some people. Common triggers include chocolate, coffee, nuts, and oats. If you notice that particular foods cause you to get cold sores, try removing those foods from your diet to see if it helps. Keeping a food journal can help you identify your triggers.

What Should I Do If I Forget A Dose?

If You Forget To Take A Dose, Apply It As Soon As You Remember

Apply your dose of Zovirax cream as soon as you recall if you forget to do so. However, omit the missed dose and carry on with your regular dosing plan if it is almost time for your next dose.

Do Not Apply More Cream Than Recommended

You may be tempted to put on a little extra cream to make up for the fact that you missed a dose but resist this temptation! Applying too much cream can lead to skin irritation. So stick to the recommended dosage and application schedule.

Do Not Use A Double Dose To Make Up For The Missed Dose

Again, this can lead to skin irritation and other side effects. Just apply your regular dose at the next scheduled time. 

Seek Medical Advice If You Are Concerned

If you are concerned about missing a dose or have any questions, please seek medical advice from your healthcare provider. 

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Zovirax Cream?

Common Side Effects of Zovirax Cream

The most common side effects associated with Zovirax cream are skin irritation, itching, or burning. These symptoms usually go away within a few days, but if they persist or worsen, please seek medical advice.

Serious Side Effects of Zovirax Cream

Rarely, more serious side effects may occur. These include severe allergic reactions, rash or itching/swelling (especially on the face). If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the cream and seek immediate medical attention. 

Interactions with Other Medications

Zovirax cream may interact with other medications. Before using Zovirax cream, be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking. This includes both prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. 

How To Manage Unpleasant Side Effects?

Use A Cold Compress To Reduce Skin Irritation

If you are experiencing skin irritation from the Zovirax cream, apply a cool compress to the area for temporary relief. This can help reduce itching and burning sensations. 

Take Over-The-Counter Medication

If the discomfort is more than mild, you may want to take an over-the-counter antihistamine or other medication for temporary relief. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication. 

Avoid Sun Exposure

Exposure to the sun can increase your risk of skin irritation from Zovirax cream. Try to limit your sun exposure, or take precautions like wearing protective clothing and sunscreen when you are outside. 

Contact Your Doctor If You Experience Any Serious Side Effects

If you experience any serious side effects, as mentioned above, contact your doctor right away. They will be able to provide additional advice on how to manage the side effects and determine if further medical intervention is needed. 


Zovirax cream is an effective treatment for cold sores. It can help reduce healing time and reduce the risk of further outbreaks. However, there are some potential side effects associated with the cream. If you experience any of the side effects, be sure to contact your doctor for advice on how to manage them. Taking the necessary precautions can help you get the most benefit from Zovirax cream. 

We hope that this guide has been helpful in showing you how to use Zovirax cream for cold sores. Good luck!