Over-the-counter cold sore treatments, such as Abreva, may facilitate healing of sores around the mouth. Ice packs and cool compresses reduce pain and itching. Prescription antiviral medications acyclovir, famciclovir, penciclovir and valacyclovir may facilitate healing of cold sores but only by a few days, says WebMD.
There is no cure for the virus that causes cold sores, although prescription antiviral medication may reduce the number and severity of future outbreaks. Cold sores generally heal without treatment in two to four weeks, according to Mayo Clinic.
The herpes simplex, or HSV-1 virus causes cold sores. It is closely related to the HSV-2 virus that causes genital herpes. Herpes viruses pass from human to human by kissing and other close physical contact. Once a person has the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus, he has it for life. Not every person who carries the virus has visible outbreaks, says Mayo Clinic.