What Are Cold Sores? An Extensive Guide from Quantum Health
What are cold sores?
The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes cold sores. Cold sores are a collection of small, fluid-filled blisters on your face. They most commonly appear on or around the lips, but they can also occur on the nose or cheeks. They are sometimes called fever blisters or herpes simplex labialis.
Symptoms of a cold sore
- Symptoms of a cold sore usually begin with a tingling, itching, or burning sensation. This can occur for a day or so before anything visual appears.
- Around 12-24 hours after this sensation, small fluid-filled blisters appear.
- The area may become red and swollen.
- The blisters then burst, releasing fluid.
- A scab forms over the sore, which can bleed or crack.
- Once healed, the scab will then fall off.
- Cold sores usually begin to heal in around ten days. However, they are contagious during this time. They can take several weeks to heal fully.
- Cold sores are contagious from the first feeling of tingling to being completely healed.
Cold sore prevention and protection
Cold sores are highly contagious. To avoid spreading or catching a cold sore:
- Do not kiss anyone who has a cold sore or if you have a cold sore.
- Do not share anything that comes into contact with a cold sore (like a lip balm).
- If you touch your cold sore (try not to), then wash your hands immediately afterward.
- Do not have oral sex if you have a cold sore until it is entirely healed, as you could give your partner genital herpes.
Cold sore treatment
For most people, cold sores heal without treatment in approximately two to four weeks. In some cases, a doctor might prescribe an antiviral medication to help speed up the healing process.
Over-the-counter cold sore treatments can speed the healing process and reduce the itching/burning feelings. These include preparations or creams that relieve the pain, soften the crusts, or help to dry them out. They can also nourish the skin and calm the inflammation.
Lip Clear® Lysine+® Ointment reduces cold sore healing time by half. It’s the leading herbal cold sore formula in the US and Canada. It includes:
- Menthol to relieve pain
- Lysine to nourish skin
- Calendula to soothe and calm dryness and irritation
- Olive oil and propolis to moisturize
View the full range of cold sore treatments available from Quantum health here. Our scientifically formulated cold sore products can assist your recovery so you can quickly move on from the discomfort and embarrassment of a cold sore.