Cold sores are a very common viral infection. Also called fever blisters, they are small fluid-filled blisters that appear around your lips and mouth. Usually, several group together. When the blisters break open and drain, a thin crust forms. If you leave them alone, cold sores will typically heal by themselves within two to four weeks. We’ll talk about how they spread, symptoms and how you can treat them below.
How Cold Sores Spread
If you have a cold sore and come into close contact with another person, you can spread it to them. The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores to appear, and this virus is very closely related to the virus that causes genital herpes. With a cold sore, it’s contagious even if you don’t see the sore itself. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cold sores, and they can come back again and again.
Cold Sore Stages and Symptoms
You can typically break down cold sore development into three stages. The stages include:
- Stage One: Itching and Tingling – You may feel an itching, burning, or tingling sensation around or on your lips a day or two before a small spot appears. This spot is where the blisters will erupt from later.
- Stage Two: Blisters – These little, fluid-filled blisters usually appear along the border of your lips where they meet your skin. You can also get these blisters on your cheeks or around your nose.
- Stage Three: Crusting and Oozing – The blisters will eventually burst and ooze. This cycle can go on for several days before they form a crust. This crust will help them heal if you leave it alone.
With cold sores, you typically get breakouts in the same spots over and over again, but they get less severe each time. The three stages can last for days, but healing can take weeks. Other symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, inflamed gums, muscle aches, or swollen lymph nodes.
Treating Cold Sores
Cold sores usually go away by themselves with no treatment required. However, antiviral medications can speed the process along. Popular prescription antiviral medications include:
If you don’t want to go to the doctor to get your
antiviral drugs, Telemedicine can help. All you have to do is have a quick
appointment over your phone. The doctor can see your cold sore and prescribe
your antiviral medications. They’ll send a prescription to the pharmacy, and
you can pick it up to start your treatment. If you’d like to find out more,
contact us today!