I had EC for probably about 3 months. I got it after using lip balm way too much this past winter. After leaving them alone for the past 2 months, I am almost completely healed. The key is to leave the crusts on as long as possible. Gradually the skin under the crusts emerges healthier and healthier. It is definitely a gradual process but it is worth taking the time. I think all the invasive, expensive treatments are a waste of time and money. Stick to a healthy diet, keep your stress as low as possible, and leave your lips ALONE as much as possible. I would avoid getting them wet in the beginning just so the crusts don't fall off. But don't make yourself crazy over it. If they get wet just dab them with a towel, don't rub.
My heart goes out to the mother of the 17 year old that has been posting on this site. As a mother, I would never want to see my child suffer through this. My own children had to see me battle this horrible thing. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Just keep supporting your son and give him tons of love...he will get better. There was a time a couple months ago when I couldn't smile, kiss, or barely open my mouth. With the "leave it alone" method, it gets worse before it gets better, but it does get better.