Cold Sores



Nearly everyone carries the virus that causes cold sores, even if they’ve never had symptoms.

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores are tiny, fluid-filled blisters on and around your lips.  After these blisters break, a scab forms that can last for several days, but usually heal in two to three weeks without leaving a scar.

What are the symptoms?

You can feel itchy, tingling or burning around the lips for a day or so before a small, hard, painful spot appears and blisters erupt.

These small fluid-filled blisters typically erupt along the border of your lips but sometimes can appear around the nose or cheeks.

The blisters then ooze and crust over.

Unfortunately, cold sores usually appear at the same spot but tend to be less severe that the first outbreak.

How do you get a cold sore?

Cold sores spread from person to person by close contact, such as kissing.  They are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 and are very contagious.    You can also spread cold sores by sharing eating utensils, razors or towels.   When you have the oozing blisters this is when they are at their most contagious.

Cold Sore Triggers:

  • UV rays
  • Wind
  • A lowered immune system
  • Viral infection or fever
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Hormonal changes
  • Injury to the skin eg. Lip fillers

The Bad News

Once you’ve had an episode of herpes infection, the virus lies dormant in the nerve cells in your skin and can come back!

Also the virus can sometimes cause an eye infection.

What to do if you get a cold sore?

  1.  No kissing! 
  2. Avoid sharing towels, lip balm – anything!
  3. Keep your hands clean as we all have a habit of touching our faces – so wash hands carefully.
  4. Apply sunblock to the area where the cold sores tend to erupt.
  5. Apply Vaseline

Zovirax topical cream which contains Aciclovir is worth trying, but if you get cold sores persistently and they are making you miserable – I would think about taking the oral tablets called Aciclovir.

What Joanie would do!

Make yourself a cup of green tea, but don’t drink it !! Take the green tea bag out of the cup (carefully) or black tea bag and apply to the actual cold sore.  This should help it right away due to the fact that the tea contains polyphenols and tannin which will heal the skin pretty quick.  Eat foods containing Lysine, the amino acid,  which is believed to work e.g. fish, chicken, beef or lamb, and thought to prevent the cold sore getting bigger