Do I Need to See a Doctor for My Cold Sore?
Cold Sore Care: Self-Treatment or Doctor's Visit?
Cold sores and the discomfort and embarrassment they can cause are common annoyances for many people. These painful, fluid-filled blisters often appear on or around the lips and can be caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
Thankfully, cold sores can be treated at home with over-the-counter treatments. However, there are still a few reasons why you may want to visit a doctor to treat them and get their expertise.
In this article, we will discuss when it is appropriate and necessary to seek medical advice for a cold sore.
Reasons to Seek Medical Advice:
1. You’re unsure if it’s a cold sore or something else.
If you’re unsure about the nature of your sore, it’s always best to see a doctor. Other conditions, such as canker sores or impetigo, can sometimes be mistaken for cold sores. A doctor can properly diagnose your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment.
2. Your sore hasn't healed after a few weeks.
Cold sores typically heal on their own within two to four weeks and more quickly if using an over-the-counter cold sore treatment. If your sore hasn't healed after this time, it’s best to consult a doctor. It may be a sign of a weakened immune system or an underlying medical condition. In these cases, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to help speed up the healing process.
3. You experience shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
While rare, cold sores can sometimes lead to respiratory problems like pneumonia or bronchitis in people for those with a weakened immune system. If you experience shortness of breath or trouble breathing along with a cold sore, seek medical attention immediately.
4. You become dehydrated because you’re unable to eat or drink.
Sometimes, cold sores can make it difficult to eat or drink. Although very rare, this can lead to dehydration in some cases. If you’re unable to consume enough fluids to stay hydrated, you need to seek medical attention. Your doctor may recommend intravenous fluids to help rehydrate your body.
While most cold sores will heal on their own within a few weeks, it’s important to seek medical attention if you’re unsure of the cause of your sore or if it hasn't healed after a few weeks. Additionally, if you experience shortness of breath or become dehydrated, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider.
Remember, taking care of your health is always a top priority. So always speak with a doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms – but remember that sometimes cold sores can take a little extra time to heal.
To cut cold sore healing time in half, use Quantum Health’s Lip Clear® Lysine+® Ointment which is soothing and effective cold sore care with herbal ingredients.