Cold Sores: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Cold Sores: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


By, Dr. Aanchal Sehrawat, Dermatology

Cold sores are a type of viral infection, also known as fever blisters. When you have cold sores, small blisters with fluid in them form in the area around your lips. The blisters often tend to be together in patches. However, cold sores usually heal in about 2 or 4 weeks with a crust forming where the blisters break, leaving no presence of a scar. Antiviral medication is the most commonly prescribed treatment for cold sores. Here is everything you need to know about cold sores:


1. Itching:

There will be a burning, tingling, itching feeling in the area around the lips. This might happen even before blisters form.

2. Blisters:

These blisters tend to be small but have a lot of fluid filled in them.

3. Crusting:

This occurs after the bursting and merging of the blisters.

4. Swollen Lymph Nodes:

The lymph nodes may swell the first time you get a cold sore.

5. Headache:

This occurs only the first time you have a cold sore. Headaches tend to subside with each recurrent episode of such sores.


Cold sores are a contagious infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), precisely by the HSV-1 virus.


Cold sores usually go away in two to four weeks without any treatment. However, certain prescription medications may quicken up the process.