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Cold Sore – Description, Symptoms, and More

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Cold Sore is a group of small, painful blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They are also called herpes or herpes simplex.

Up to 90% of people worldwide have at least one form of HSV.

Symptoms are usually more pronounced with first herpes. First, herpes can become seriously ill in a child.

After the first outbreak, your body should produce antibodies, and you may never get infected again. But for many people, herpes comes back.

Cold Sore SymptomsCold Sore Symptoms

Herpes most often appears on the outside of the mouth and lips but can also appear on the nose and cheeks.

You can have herpes up to 20 days after being infected. An ulcer may appear near where the virus entered your body.

Herpes occurs in Stages:

  • You feel tingling, burning, or itching.
  • After about 12-24 hours, sores form. The area becomes red, swollen, and painful.
  • The blisters break open, and fluid arises out. Usually, it lasts 2 or 3 days.
  • A scab forms on the wound. It may crack or bleed.
  • The crust falls off.

You may also have red or swollen gums, swollen glands in your neck, fever, or muscle pain.

Early Infections can also Cause:

Cold Sore

  • Burning and pain in the mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Headache
  • Stomachache

Risk Factors for Cold Sore

Herpes is not usually serious, but the infection can be life-threatening for someone with a weakened immune system due to AIDS, another illness, or medication.

If you have a serious skin condition called eczema, you may develop cold sores on large areas of your body.

Diagnosis of Cold Sore

Your doctor can diagnose the herpes virus just by looking at the blisters. They may also take an example from the blister and test the fluid for HSV.

Treatment of Cold Sore

There is no cure for herpes. If you have a virus, it stays in your body. Wounds themselves usually heal on their own within 1-2 weeks.

Antivirals can speed up healing, especially if you take them at the first sign of an outbreak. Your doctor may recommend that you use:

  • A cream that is applied to wounds. Acyclovir (Zovirax) and penciclovir (Denavir) require a prescription, or you can get docosanol (Abreva) without a prescription.
  • Tablets that you swallow, such as acyclovir (Sitavig, Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valaciclovir (Valtrex). It would help if you required a prescription to get them.
  • Medicines put into the bloodstream (called intravenous or intravenous) if you have a severe case, such as cidofovir (Vistide) or foscarnet (Foscavir). You can also enter acyclovir.

Some home remedies may help you feel better during your recovery:

  • Cold and wet compresses
  • Analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
  • Pain relief cream with benzocaine or lidocaine
  • Alcohol treatments to dry blisters
  • Lip balms and creams that retain moisture.

Complications of Cold Sore

Complications of herpes are rare but can occur if the virus spreads to another part of your body, including:

  • This infection is called criminal herpes.
  • You may have warts or sores on your genitals or anus.
  • Other Skin Areas. If you suffer from eczema and cold sores, see your doctor right away to avoid a serious condition called eczema herpes. This painful rash covers large areas of the skin.
  • The Eyes. Herpes simplex keratitis, an infection of the cornea, can cause blindness.
  • Brain or Spinal Cord. The virus can cause a dangerous inflammation called meningitis or encephalitis, especially in people with weakened immune systems.

Seven best Remedies of Cold Sore

  1. Lemon Balm
  2. Over-The-Counter Antivirals.
  3. Ice Cream
  4. Aloe Vera
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Reduce Stress
  7. Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen

Prescription Treatment

Herpes virus usually goes away on its own after a few days, but several prescription treatments can help speed healing time.

If you have several outbreaks per year, you can even take oral antivirals throughout the year to prevent attacks altogether. These procedures include:

  • Acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
  • Famciclovir (Famvir)
  • Penciclovir (Denavir)


Cold Sore, often called cold sores, is a collection of small, fluid-filled blisters. You may feel a tingling sensation on your lip before a small, hard, painful spot appears (above). After a day or two, blisters form, which then burst and ooze (below). Healing usually occurs in two to three weeks without scarring.

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