We all hate ‘cold sores’, because they are so ugly and noticeable. Cold sores start as tiny blisters on or near the lips. A cold sore is usually gone within a week or two, but is really upsetting while it lasts.
How do you know if you have a cold sore?
- The first sign is a burning, tingling or itching feeling in the skin where the cold sore will erupt. If you have had a cold sore before, you will recognize this feeling as soon as it starts.
- The tingling lasts for about 6 hours. Then you will notice a group of tiny blisters (usually 3–5) with some reddish swelling of the skin around them.
- After a day or two, the blisters become an open sore. This is the start of the ugly stage.
- Within a further day or two, a scabby crust forms over the sore.
- The sore gradually heals, and is gone about 7–10 days after it started.
Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Wednesday, November 2nd 2011
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