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Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1) and Antibiotic Ointments

Read more about Antibiotic Ointments.


Antibiotic ointments contain one or a combination of antibiotics that are sometimes effective in fighting secondary bacterial skin infections.

Common brand names include:

  • Neosporin
  • Polysporin

Effect of Antibiotic Ointments on Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1)

Cold sores are caused by a virus, not a bacteria, but these ointments may be used to help treat a secondary bacterial infection.

How to Use Antibiotic Ointments

Antibiotic ointments are applied, with clean hands, directly to the cold sore. They should not be used inside the mouth or too near the eyes. Use only as directed.

Side Effects and Warnings

Possible side effects include skin irritation or allergy.