Cold sores are also known as fever blisters or herpes simplex labialis. These are red, fluid-filled blisters that appear on and around the lips. Basically it is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus of type 1 (HSV-1). The HSV-2 causes infection in the genital area. Nonetheless, both these types can affect either part in the reverse role. These blisters often appear in cluster or patches and once they break the scab forms on the spot, which takes a few days to fall off. Normally, cold sores take around two to three weeks to heal and once the scab is off, it does not leave a scar.

Cold sores can be painful and at least 90% of people across the globe have some type of HSV. In the USA itself, above 70% are infected with HSV. Besides the lips and mouth area, the blisters may be found on nose or cheeks too. This is a contagious disease that has no cure. However, medication can help contain the condition and prevent further outbreak.

Cold soreCold sores are passed on through contact and the likely cause of spread is kissing or oral sex. The person may not see the sores immediately, as they appear almost 20 days after being infected by HSV. It is to be noted that the contagious effect prevails even if the blisters are not visible. The symptoms are more severe for the first outbreak of cold sores. Usually, the infection-fighting antibodies are developed in the body on the first appearance of the blisters, so that there is no future occurrence. However, it is observed that many people get cold sores back after some period.

The first attack of cold sores shows symptoms like fever, headache, stomach upset, sore throat and pain, and burning in the mouth, with difficulty in swallowing. 12 to 24 hours prior to blister formation, there is a tingling, burning, and itching sensation.


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Certain strains of herpes simplex virus (HSV) cause cold sores. HSV-1 is usually responsible for facial cold sores and HSV-2 for genital herpes. However, either one can spread the disease to face or genitals through intimate contacts like oral sex or kissing. Besides this, sharing towels, razors, or eating utensils with an infected person can transmit HSV-1.

Many people infected with the virus may not show any signs or symptoms. Nonetheless, you can pass on the virus even though you do not have blisters. Cold sores spread more easily through oozing blisters, as the infected fluid can easily affect the other person through contact. After the initial attack of herpes, the virus remains inactive in the nerve cells in the skin. This may further come up as another emergence of a cold sore in the same area. However, this recurrence is triggered by certain factors like:

Stages of Cold Sores

  • Fever or some viral infection
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Hormonal imbalance, especially during menstruation
  • Bruises or injury to the skin
  • Lowered immune system
  • Overexposure to wind and sunlight
  • Dental treatment

Please note, that showing love and affection is absolutely fine so long as you exercise caution. Kissing a person infected with cold sores or having intimate relations via oral sex is a bad idea that may result in the spread of infection to you. Intimacy is great if there is no health risk involved of any sort. One should be particularly careful if the blisters have burst and are oozing with the infected fluid. Under such circumstances, the person in contact is more vulnerable to catch the infection. This can be an apt motto, “Spread love, not cold sores”.

Treating the sores with proper medication and washing hands properly before touching another individual, especially babies, are some precautions to be followed.


Cold sores are very painful and contagious. It is essential to keep them under control, as the infection spreads easily through contact. There is no cure for this. Nevertheless, it can be treated by medication and kept under control from further occurrence.

For relief from cold sores, an ice pack helps to reduce inflammation. Petroleum jelly or lemon balm keeps the lips and surrounding area soft and supple and prevents the painful cracking. Another excellent remedy to protect the sore and give a cooling effect is aloe vera gel or fresh pulp. Sunscreen with at least SPF 30 when applied on lips and sores arrests further damage from UV rays of sunlight. Painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen aid in reducing the pain and discomfort.

Best Cold Sore TreatmentBesides these simple home remedies to tackle the discomfort or irritation caused by the cold sores, there is a cold sore treatment to treat the condition.


Cold sores have no cure. They can reoccur if you do not treat them on time or undergo stressful conditions. For instant relief, start with simple home remedies; but do attend to them with these trusted products to ease pain and spread of infection.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css_animation=”bounceInUp”]

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Abreva cold sore treatment cream is a product from GSK labs. It contains an active ingredient called Docosanol that is responsible for arresting the spread of infection by penetrating deep in the skin and protecting the neighboring healthy cells.

The cream is available in 2 gm packages in the pump and tube form. Docosanol reduces the healing time considerably and is the only non-prescription cold sore cream that has FDA approval. For the best results, do not wait for the blister to appear. The minute you sense itching or tingling sensation, start the application of the cream.

Remove the makeup and cleanse your face. Wash your hands thoroughly and apply Abreva cream with the finger or cotton swab on the sore and adjacent area. Gently rub it in till well blended in the skin. Apply it at least 5 times throughout the day to define quick results. The normal healing of cold sores is 8-10 days. However, the cream expedites the process to around 4 days.

It is advisable to keep using the cream for at least 10 days till the sore heals completely. Nonetheless, if after 10 days there is no improvement in the blister or the condition worsens, then consult a doctor. All those who have tried the cream, swear by its performance, and admit full satisfaction. Be cautious, since this is a contagious disease, do not share or use another person’s product.

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Orajel Touch-free cold sore treatment is a patented product and comes in a package of 4 vials for single use. It has been designed for single-use and disposing of purposes. It helps to relieve pain and renders numbness to the area to facilitate easy application.

Remove the protective blue paper by sliding off and taking it on the other end, opposite the white applicator tip. Snap the vial by squeezing it firmly on the arrow shown on the blue paper cap. Allow the medication to saturate the application tip, by holding it facing downwards. Numb the area by gently touching the sore with the application tip. Then rub the site of the sore and neighboring area firmly to permit the contents to penetrate deep into the skin to start the healing process.

After use, replace the cap on the white tip and dispose of the vial immediately, keeping out of reach of children. Since this is a single-use vial, there is no question of contamination due to re-use.

Cold sores are painful and contagious. So the early you treat them in the first instance, the better.

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