Sali Hughes did a super video on the Guardian website on the Boots Cold Sore machine that uses a particular band of light to activate the immune system around the site of a cold sore. However, I’m pretty sure that Boots probably didn’t mention that Lipzor (or Virulite – same thing under in different name) which uses exactly the same technology, and which I have used for years, is approved for NHS prescription. I think you’d have to check with individual GPs whether they are prepared to prescribe it, but in theory they should. 

Lipzor has been an absolute saviour – I started getting cold sores around ten years ago, and unless you get them, you won’t understand the utter misery of them. Not only do they look hellish, but they can make you feel like you have flu, with headaches and feverishness. Mine appear in that bit between the nose and lip that I am sure there is a name for, but I have no clue what it is! A cold sore takes at least two weeks from start to finish and there is nothing pretty about that fortnight. Since using Lipzor, not only have I reduced the outbreaks, but have somehow managed to send any cold sores to a different site, inside my nose. I know, it’s not the best subject, is it? However, they are tiny in comparison to the old ones and best of all, nobody knows they are there but me. I’m especially unlucky in that I don’t get any ‘tingle’ warning so have no advance alarm system so I always have to use Lipzor on something already active – it genuinely cuts cold sore time from the full two weeks (or longer, sometimes) to about five days, and on occasion, they’ve literally disappeared overnight if I’ve been really quick. 

If you get cold sores and find the £35 price tag of the Boots machines a bit steep, then do check with your GP about Lipzor (or Virulite) because they may very well prescribe it for you. To be honest, looking at the pictures available, Lipzor and the Boots Avert machine look like exactly the same machine, which they very probably are – only one is £35 and the other is free.