Cold sores are commonly spread through close contact with another person. They are caused by a virus known as herpes simplex. While there is no cure for cold sores, they can be treated with medications prescribed by Skin Dermatology. 

What Are the Symptoms of Cold Sores?

Before you spot a cold sore, there may be some early warning signs. For example, you may sense some tingling or burning on your face or lips before a cold sore arrives. Once the sore has formed, it will be filled with fluid, tender, and potentially painful. Cold sores can linger for up to two weeks and will be contagious until it has scabbed. Some people have more than one cold sore at once and can also experience fever, aches, and swollen lymph nodes. 


Stages of a Cold Sore

One of the factors that distinguish cold sores from other blisters is the stages that it develops in. Five unique stages occur when one is experiencing a cold sore. They include: 

  • Stage 1: 24 hours before the cold sore is seen, there will be tingling and itching 
  • Stage 2: The blister, or blisters, will begin to appear
  • Stage 3: The blisters pop, and sores begin to form. There can also be some pain in the sores. 
  • Stage 4: The sores begin to scab over, leading to some itching.
  • Stage 5: The scab falls off, and the sore begins to heal.

Cold Sore Treatment Options

Once you are infected with the herpes simplex virus, it cannot be cured. Though even those with the virus rarely experience significant outbreaks. If you are experiencing an outbreak or are prone to them, there are some options available. At Skin Dermatology, you will have a thorough examination of the area and, if appropriate, be prescribed a treatment regimen to fit your needs. This may include topical or oral medications.

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Board-Certified Dermatologist Dr. Alissa Lamoureux

Skin Dermatology is located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and is helmed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Alissa Lamoureux. Skin Dermatology is on a mission to provide a full range of skincare services while treating patients in a relaxing environment. For more information on cold sore care and treatment options, contact Skin Dermatology today.

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