ZocdocAnswersCan I use halobetasol propionate ointment .05% on cold sores?

Question

Can I use halobetasol propionate ointment .05% on cold sores?

I have a cold sore above my lip, next to my nose and its swelling up my lip. Can I use halobetasol propionate ointment .05% on the cold sore?

Answer

My first thought here is that you should go see your primary care doctor, who will be able to look at this sore on your lip and help you figure out what it is. It might be a cold sore, but it could also be something else, such as a superficial skin infection, and your doctor will be able to figure that out for you. If this does turn out to be a cold sore, then using a steroid cream like halobetasol would be a bad idea. Steroid creams are immune suppressants and, since cold sores are caused by an infection with the herpes virus, these creams could theoretically make your body's defenses against the virus less effective and could actually lead to the cold sore getting much worse! If your doctor confirms that this is a cold sore, they will be able to recommend appropriate treatment to you. Many simple cold sores will heal up on their own without any medical intervention. However for more severe cases, there are a number of anti viral medications that can be used to help speed healing and, in the cases of recurrent cold sores, make the outbreaks less severe and less frequent. There are also some topical cooling medications that can be used to ease the local irritation and inflammation. Good luck and I hope you are feeling better soon.

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