Anbesol, a product containing topical benzocaine, is a pain-relieving ointment used in the treatment of cold sores and many other painful skin irritations. It works by blocking the nerve signals in the affected area. Cold sores are visible outbreaks of the herpes virus, which has no cure but lies dormant in the body until triggered by stress, fever, fatigue or too much sun exposure. Anbesol can help with discomfort brought on by the sores, which appear on or around the lips, until the outbreak is over, usually within two to three weeks.
Consult your doctor before using this or any other anesthetic. Anbesol can be used for a wide range of problems but still has negative side effects for people with certain illnesses.
Clean the affected area before applying Anbesol. Cold sores heal faster when they are kept dry and clean. Anbesol will prevent the skin from becoming more irritated by dryness with the additional soothing ingredients aloe vera and Vitamin E.
Wash your hands before applying Anbesol.
Apply a thin layer of Anbesol to the affected area no more than four times daily. Children under 12 should be supervised by an adult when applying the ointment. An overdose of any numbing medication can cause fatal side effects.
Wash your hands after each application. Cold sores are contagious and can easily be passed on, especially to children.
To prevent cold sores from returning, wear plenty of sunscreen on your lips when you go outside. Keep your skin healthy by eating healthy foods and regularly practice activities and habits that will keep your immune system strong. Many of the conditions that trigger a cold sore outbreak can be counteracted by a healthy immune system.
Do not use Anbesol on open wounds or infected areas. Anbesol can have fatal side effects if too much of the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream. Do not use if you have methemoglobinemia and consult your doctor if you smoke or have heart disease, asthma or any other breathing disorder.