Is it true that having cold sores means you’ve got herpes in your mouth?

--asks Anonymous from Horseshoe Beach, Florida.

September 18, 2006
So much for lipstick! [CREDIT: CDC]
So much for lipstick! [CREDIT: CDC]

Well, yes, that is true. But it’s not necessarily the same herpes that causes problems in one’s nether regions.

Cold sores, or fever blisters, are fluid-filled blisters that appear on or around the lips and sometimes on the nostrils or chin. They’re different from canker sores, which are ulcers that occur in the soft tissue inside the mouth.

The culprit responsible for cold sores is the herpes simplex virus, which comes in two flavors. Garden variety cold sores are usually caused by type 1, while type 2 is commonly the villain behind genital sores. But either strain can lead to sores on the face or on the genitals. Over 85 percent of adults are infected with herpes simplex type 1, although they may not show any symptoms at first exposure.

The herpes simplex virus that causes herpes labialis (that’s the medical name for cold sores) is a sneaky sucker. It infects by entering through skin or mucous-coated surfaces and sets up house in your nerve cells. It’s a latent virus, meaning once it’s infected you, it remains dormant between outbreaks.

The life of a cold sore involves several stages. Warning signs that one is about to raise its blistery head include itching, tingling, and burning. Then the blister appears, starting small and often growing to a bulbous mass. After a few days, the mass breaks and may ooze—this is called the “weeping” stage—after which it scabs over a few times and eventually flakes off to reveal pinkish, healing skin. Generally, cold sores don’t leave scars. On average, lesions last 7-10 days if left untreated.

The bad news is that once you’ve got the cold sore virus, you’re stuck with it. But there are ways to keep it in hibernation longer, and you can also take steps to reduce the amount of time cold sores taint your kisser.

First of all, herpes labialis is most contagious when cold sores are in their weeping stage, so don’t go around sharing utensils, cups, or kisses with someone who has a cold sore. Second, fever, menstruation, stress, and even sun exposure can cause outbreaks, so leading a healthy lifestyle—which includes getting enough sleep and wearing sunscreen—can help.

There are over-the-counter and prescription topical creams and oral medications available that can help reduce the lifespan of a cold sore. Acyclovir is one prescription oral drug that is sometimes used. It works by interfering with viral replication, which happens before a cold sore appears. But viral replication generally occurs before a person shows symptoms, so it’s difficult to judge when acyclovir should be taken. If a cold sore is already present, it may be too late for acyclovir to help, and you’ll just have to ride it out.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 less commonly causes other problems besides cold sores. While it can lead to sores anywhere on the skin, as well as on the eye, in rare cases it can also cause neurological disorders, including encephalitis and Bell’s palsy, a type of facial paralysis. Given these alternatives, a little cold sore doesn’t seem too bad, does it?


Got a question for us? ASK!

About the Author

Julie Leibach

BAs in biology/Spanish, from Washington University in St. Louis. Florida-born (ACR, 20+ years!). Love: Hawaii, chocolate, sleep. And also science.



Lucy says:

I have been getting coldsores since I was 2 or 3. And get them quite often ; more during my younger years though. I got them from when my sister kissed me as a baby with a coldsore. I have never gotten myself diagnosed but I get them all the time so I’m gonna assume that I bave herpes type 1 . I never really payed attention to them when I was younger , but started to when I was around 13/14. It was super embarrassing going to school and feeling as if everyone was judging me for it. I’ve never found abreva to help , but I do use carmex , which is more affordable ( it’s like 3$) and works better then any of the expensive big brand names.

Jo moran says:

Hi, I never got a cold sore until i was 54, then i got transverse myelitis is there a connection as i now get one every year. ?

Mike says:

I’m 20 years old, and I’ve been getting cold sores my whole life. Growing up I’d usually one a year, it that. It’d happen when it started to get cold. Recently, since I’ve been in college, I’ve been getting them a lot more frequently. The past 3 months I’ve already gotten 3 separate outbreaks (I’m currently in a fight right now with them). I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the all nighters in the library before big exams. My mom gets them too, and she’s always given me the zovirax that she’s prescribed, but I didn’t have access to it the past couple so I used Abreva. With either of those if I can catch it at the initial tingle then the outbreak can be prevented entirely. If it’s too late I’ve found the zovirax to work the best, it’ll get rid of it in a couple days.

peter force says:

hey just a quick note and im sorry if it has been repeated..but they call it the kissing disease because that is all it takes.. and not from your GF or BF or anything… most cases-it seems- are actually transferred at birth from mom or dad when they first kiss their child… so if your wondering why you are 12 and never kissed anyone or anything and have cold sores…{REMEMBER STRESS IS THE BIGGEST REASON FOR OUTBREAKS NO MATTER WHAT! lower that STRESS!!!}…

anyway..if that is you.,,ask mom or dad..most likely they gave it to ya!- peter

Dave says:

Hello all. I’m 27 years old and am going threw first cold sore encounter. It SUCKS. I was tested one month ago for several std including HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, Hepatitis b and c, herpes simplex 1 and 2 to name a few. All the results came back negative. Last week I went in for a physical. Everything looks great and I’m “healthy young man. Keep it up” Now this crap with cold sores. How is this happening? I feel stupid, disgusting, ashamed.

Heather says:

I look after old folk and one old lady told me it’s common for little children to get them (babies) because people kiss them a lot, lol not many people think of that I know I didn’t.

Wendy says:

Hi everyone, I’m 44 years old and I got a really bad case of oral cold sores when I was 22 it was so bad I had to go to the hospital and they thought it was strep!! The meds they gave me made it WORSE!! I so wanted to die I had sores all over my mouth and down my throat and was miserable! Don’t wish that on no boby!!! Well ever since I still get them and they are not fun at all as I know everyone would agree they are not welcome. Sometimes I just get one an other times I get 3-4 and not sure if any one else feels this way but when I get them I feel sick like I am coming down with the flu.. I feel ache , fever, sore throat and run down… Would like to know if others feel the same way when they get cold sores. Thanks Wendy

Sam says:

My ex from 5 years ago told me she had it after we went out for 2 months, one day I seen it on her lips and said “ahh herpes” she tried kissing me cause she was angry at my comment and assured me I wouldn’t get it, however I refused to kiss her than 3 days later she asked me to come see her at night it was the first time she wore lipstick which I fought was odd and she wanted to kiss I asked her if she still had she said “no”, now after 5 years I realised she did have it active but was covering it with lipstick to infect me.
From what I can remember I’ve had 1 cold sore on my top lip since than but today I feel tingling on a part of my lip so I’ve realised she may of infected me I’m going to do a blood test tomorrow I hope I’m wrong but I’m 90 percent sure she gave me it :( and she did it on purpose by covering the cold sore with lipstick and kissing me as a type of “haha you have it now”.

Joanne Quilter says:

Hey well i woke up today and had cold sore and then by night comes its a fat lip and now the part where its fat has blood in so im worried no clue help me

holdinghope says:

I been to the emergency room twice to plan parenthood and to my primary doctor. I was exposed to herpes. For 17 days I been having burning itchy sensation on my face and lips. I just noticed a few blisters on the back of my tongue and sides they bother me when I eat or drink.. Everyone tells me that dont think is herpes. I took the test today. I have to wait a few days for the results

holdinghope says:

every oneEveryone tells me that dont think is herpes. I took the test today. I have to wait a few days for the results

Caitlin Yeoman says:

I have terrible cold sores. hemoform serum works wonders. When applied everyday, the sores never get those ugly huge scabs. And the best part is they don’t hurt. I would highly recommend this to anyone who suffers with cold sores

johnQ says:

Mine are very small. I found that from the very first time I was infected they have gotten smaller, almost cant see them, Im very thankful for that, in saying all of this, wanted to let you all know my new brothers, lol I know its a bitch! but we have it. back to what I was saying, I found a way to get pass the CRUSTY STAGE but this is what you are going to need, mix the salt and the alcohol together in a small container, and when you have done that, you will use the needle after sanitized,to bust the blister
one by one, very carefully, then use the q tip in your mix and put it on the sore, trust me i have done this already 3times and it works!!! keep repeating doing the day. leave it on the sore, and you will see heal very fast, WITH OUT THE CRUSTY STAGE!

1 needle

2 Rubbing Alcohol

3 salt

4 Q tip

feelsdifferent says:

Hi! I’ve never had any idea of ehat a cold sore is or how it can be spread. Now, I’m stuck with it and I’m feeling SUPER embarrassed. *sigh* I can’t do anything about it now, and I’ll just stop blaming myself since it wasn’t my fault. It really isn’t OUR fault for having this virus spread in our body. I’m 18 and in my school, there’s this girl (she likes to address herself as bestie) used to peck me on my lips a lot, the usual girly things we do. And since then, there was one blister on the bottom of my lip, I thought of it as a pimple and popped it LOL. And it spread like crazy, it was all over my top lips and a few on my bottom. Ughh, super embarrassed, I couldn’t even hide it. I bought Abreva but it is for the early stages so it didn’t do anything except dry my lips out. Now, my lips are super dry, and there are scabs and crusts. Right at the two sides of my lips, there’s a scab and whenever I open my mouth to talk, it rips open. SO FRUSTRATING. And I see one more coming out on my bottom lip. This is the first time ever and I don’t know if I can cope with it. I am utterly scared and shattered. Especially thinking it’s HERPES. FRICKEN HERPES!!
And idk why, but now there’s red itchy rashes on my left cheek, behind both of my ears and chin. Idk what it is, I’ve never been allergic to anything., I’m thinking maybe it’s because of Abreva?
Just help me please. I’m thinking about drinking Lysine daily. I don’t want this to come back!! It ruins my life.. I’m a pretty social person.
And it’s fine if you wash your hands before you masturbate, right? You can’t get genital herpes from yourself right? Lol, someone answer me. I’m pretty freaked out over here.

Thank you!

anon says:

I’m 15, I recently had a strange patch of little bumps on my chin, so thinking it was acne I popped them and washed it good. It healed and dissapeared like I figured it would (thinking it was acne) well now several days later I saw some of these bumps on my lip. My mother told me it was a cold sore or a type of herpes really is what she said so after freaking out a bit I held hydrogen peroxide to it. I’ve been washing my hands A LOT, as I do tend to freak about things like this. Despite this, I woke up this morning to these patches on BOTH my lips and just under and on my chin and on my nose, around my nostrils. Since these outbreaks I’ve been coughing a lot, I’m now worried its on my throat causing the itching that makes me cough so much. I’ve been trying to be super careful and avoiding touching my face but it’s spread like wildfire in just a day!! Does this what happens in any other people’s outbreaks? Also, I can’t remember the last time I have shared food/drink with anyone and my boyfriend has never had an outbreak and has had tests and doesn’t have this virus, neither of my parents have ever had cold sores either. I understand stress can cause an outbreak but if I’ve never had the virus until now, it must be from some sort of contact with a person who had an outbreak, correct?

Joseph says:

I have been getting cold sores as far back as I can remember when I was in around 4th to 8th grade I would get one every couple 04 months one the lower right hand side of my lip I would be so embarrassed that I would try to find any excuse not to go to school I would sit in front of the mirror and pick at it and that only a few it worse they started getting huge after I turned 15 i only get thembut once or twice a year and I’ve found that the best thing for them is abreva it seems to numb it so u don’t mess with it. The less you touch them the better. Touching them only makes it worse I’ve never been to a doctor about it but I’m now 25 and I get them very rarely next time I do get one tho I’m going to the doctor to get a prescription because they are still embarrassing and stressful. I feel for all of u who have these because they made my childhood a living hell whenever I got one

Joseph says:

To feelsdifferent I’m a guy that’s been getting them forever and since u know 8 a guy you know I’m constantly touching myself lol 9 very never had one anywhere but the same spot by lip and I haven’t been over concerned about spreading it but since ur a girl I’d be more careful and see what strain u have I’m pretty sure I have the weaker one since it’s never spread just try not to stress because that only makes them worse trust me stress is my main trigger just catch it early with abreva and don’t touch it unless ur putting on medication when the blisters pop don’t let the fluid spread more. Keep it dry so I scabs faster ur lucky u can wear makeup and cover the pink spot when the scab come off because for me it’s a constant reminder. Just see a Dr I wish I would have.

Veronica says:

I just found out I got herpes 1 on my lip and I began to have two blisters underneath my bottom lip then I began to have a fever and my throat hurt which I read are some of the symptoms I went to the doctor after five days and she prescribed some medication for me and I feel like I’m getting better although I have read that the virus will forever stay in my body but does that mean I can never kiss anyone again? I also read that kissing someone on the mouth who has herpes who has herpes sores on the mouth can be infected but what if u don’t have the sore anymore? Can u also infect that person will they get the symptoms too?

By applying the principles taught in The Science
of Getting Rich program.

Gretchen says:

As you all have read, Herpes is alive and tingling. I have been a nurse for 30 years and I get these buggers. I think mine come from extreme stress or when I have been very ill. I get an outbreak under my nose or on the lip. I have had them 4-5 times in my life. I have Epstein-Barr like almost everyone else. They hurt more than anything and the blisters appear way before I can treat with an anti-viral so I walk around with this huge blister on my face for a week or longer. Since I can’t cure it I try to just keep the pain down and use Campho-Phenique liquid. It is an old treatment and over the counter. I still get embarrassed and I am glad I don’t work outside the home anymore. Stress affects all of us differently and I should know better.

Maggie MacCormack says:

I’m 58 years old and I started getting fever blisters/cold sores in about the 3rd grade.
What works for me?
This trick helps dry that pesky cold sore up quickly while speeding up the healing time too.

Take an ordinary generic tea bag. (black tea seems to work better than green).
Steep it in a just few tablespoons of BOILING water.
You only want enough water to cover the tea bag.
When it is still warm, without feeling too hot to touch it to your lips or nose, apply it to the cold sore until the bag gets cold.

CHANGE THE BAG FREQUENTLY … it’s why I told you to get generic!

For me it takes 4 or 5 applications, over the course of a couple of hours. But then I can generally feel an unpleasant tingling feeling when I have a cold sore coming on. However, it works almost as quickly with those that get to the blistery/pimply point too! Just takes a little longer and a few more applications to get them drying out.

Just don’t freak out because the tea does stain skin (and clothing). Baby wipes generally remove the tea residue while being very gentle and more importantly disposable. Just remember to DAB don’t RUB or you’ll get more scabbing to deal with.

The tannin in the tea seems to dry a cold sore up very quickly, at least it has for me and the few friends I have told about it. The healing time with the last one I got was just 5 days. Sure it was still there, but it didn’t scream “OMG! LOOK IT’S HERPES!”

Toss any make-up, lipsticks, sunscreen sticks and toothbrushes, basically anything that has been near the sore to prevent another flare up!

Another perk is that I can use the remainder of the tea bags to make Hot or Iced Tea … and you can’t do that with all those other Big Pharma OTC and Health Store products, now can you?

Louis Cyfur says:

I think the American Journal of Medicine needs to re-evaluate cold sores and the term herpes (hsv1 and hsv2). I’ve had cold sores off and on probably since college. Who knows, I might have had the virus all my life and it just showed up in college years. The older I got, the less frequent I had cold sores. I always thought it was herpes also because that term and cold sores have been used interchangeably for so long, it carries the stigma of being an std. So, last year I had my blood tested for std’s and everything came out negative including for hsv1 and hsv2. I asked my doctor if it’s a mistake because I told doctor I’ve had cold sores in the past. My doctor said the next time I get it, to come in and get culture sample taken. Earlier this year, I did blood work again for std’s and again results were negative for stds. No hsv1 or hsv2. What is the likelihood of both blood tests being false negatives for hsv1 and 2? Highly unlikely right? Now it makes me wonder if the cold sores I had were a different strain not detected as herpes. I think there should be more research done and people need to be properly informed that just because you have a cold sore does not mean it’s an std.

Gota Coldsore says:

I’m a guy, 22. I think I’m pretty hygienic, I don’t share food, cups, nothing like that. Then last week I got a cold sore. No idea how. Pretty annoyed at the situation.

Dreading going to work this week, I just wish there was a cure.

And to everyone asking “is it herpes? or can I ever kiss again?” and the like. Yes it’s always herpes, yes you can kiss or do whatever you want with anyone you want so long as you do not have an active cold sore whilst doing so, and it won’t spread. It only spreads when it blisters and bursts. But this means that like the cold, anyone with an active one can touch a button, you can hit it later and contract the virus. Nature sucks huh?

The fact that it’s for life, suck’s.
The fact that it’s Herpes is even worse.
And lastly the fact that they are so common and yet I seem to be the only person I’ve seen in years with one, really sucks.

Stephanie says:

I hope this helps someone.. I have had cold sores ever since I can remember I hate
them I used to get them maybe 3 to 4 times a year. I started noticing a pattern sometimes even when I wasn’t stressed and not sick I would still get a cold sore so I started paying attention to what I was eating. It seemed that almost every time I was having a cold sore I had recently eatin/drank an orange or a raw tomato.. So I decided to stop eating or drinking oranges and I stopped eating raw tomato’s, I still eat tomato sauces just raw tomato’s were effecting me.. A couple months went by and no cold sores :) now I only have one cold sore a year and that’s because of the stress of Christmas shopping lol I haven’t eatin or drank an orange or raw tomato in over 10 years and I’ve continues to only have one cold sore per year all around christmas. I don’t know if this will be the same for everyone but if this comment helps one person I’ll be happy :) God Bless

My cold sores/fever blisters came from kissing my boyfriend in the 9th grade. HIs was almost gone and I still caught it. L-Lysine is a good supplement to take to keep them at bay. This time my face is itching and when I touch it I have pain. My ear and throat also hurt on the side that the blister is on. This has never happened before and it sucks! I have been putting Thieves oil on this one and it is drying up quickly now if I could just get the side effects of the thing to go away.

stupid blister

Unfortunate says:

So sad that when someone gets a cold sore they feel “disgusting, gross”. It is public IGNORANCE that causes us to feel this way. I have had them since I was a baby (probably got a kiss from a relative) and “grew up” dealing with outbreaks. I have felt embarrassed and judged. I am in my 50’s and have learned not to let it bother me but I know how young people feel. Ibelieve we need to educate the public and this should start in health class in schools. How about change the name of the Herpes 1 virus! How about just plain old cold sore! Reduce the stigma any way possible. We deserve to feel comfortable in our bodies.

Zoe says:

Hi I’m 12 years old and this is the first time I have ever had a cold sore and I just needed clarity . I have been told that a cold sore means herpes but never really believed it. Now I know it’s true and that it is not the same herpes in other areas. I know how I got it, the only person I kiss on the lips is my mother. She gets cold sores a lot,so I am almost positively sure that I got it from her l!!

Kelly says:

Hi I’m 17 years old and I have struggled with cold sore for about 10 years now. My dad gave it to me when I was 7 and he kissed me goodnight with a cold sore. For a good two years I never had a cold sore, not once! I thought this is great, maybe I finally grew out of them or I’m just not affected as much! But I was wrong. In mid August I had gotten my first cold sore in a little over 2 years. It was on my bottom lip and it was huge! It hurt so bad and it was very swollen and red. It went away in just a littl over a week. I hoped that it was just a one time deal but as soon as school started up again I was getting them every week! They would show up then go away if I treated it fast enough, then the big one would show up and be stubborn. Anyways my last cold sore was about a month ago and it went away with my prescription of zoriviax which worked great! It relieves the pain instantly and worked within just a day making all the swelling go away. However this past weekend I went away skiing in New Jersey which was very cold and this morning I woke up with 5 cold sores all right next to each other Ina circle on my top left side of my lip. My lip looks enormous plus it’s killing me! I’ve never ever had this many at once! And it is so incredibly painful. I stayed home from school today because of not only the embarrassment but the pain it’s causing me. I put on my prescription hoping it would at least help with the pain and took ideprofen but it still really hurts no matter what. It’s really dry and cracked and just really gross. I’m supposed to get my wisdom teeth out in 3 days but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. My wisdom teeth have been bothering me for so long and they hurt too so I’m hoping this prescription will help these things go away in a day or two but if not, does anyone have any suggestions to make the process go by faster? Thanks

Molatelo Chokoe says:

Hi, I’m 23 years of age and I get them quite often. Sometimes I’d go for about three to four months with no sign of them but sometimes I get them like every week. I’m really confused because I hardly get flu. The last time I got flu was when I was about 14years old,that’s about 6 years back. Now I just get a lite headache and a sore throat then my voice is gone. I’m really scared.

Matt says:

Hi I am 16 and I have only ever had one cold sore in my life (3 years ago) do I still have the virus? And if I do since it has been dormant for so long do I need to be cautious about it?

Robert says:

/\ Matt

If you are 100% sure it was a “Herpes Outbreak” I hate to tell you bud, but this puppy stays with you for life. Or at least until Science comes up with a cure which isn’t around yet. With that said, don’t get down about it like I used to. Judging from the fact that you say your last outbreak was 3 years ago I’d say you’re in pretty decent shape. Sometimes the virus can lay dormant within us for many years until something happens in our life such as lots of stress, depression or even a long weekend under the sun may cause an episode. Don’t worry though, if you follow the advice given here using the medications listed such as (Zovirax, Acyclovir) Abreva you can get over the counter, and try to recognize when your body is telling you a blister is about to be unleashed (itching, burning sensation on lip etc.)you will get really good at managing it. Maybe ONE outbreak every several years. Take Care..

Anonymous says:

I recently just kissed a guy when I was sick. I had just a normal cold and didn’t think much of it when we made out. He got a cold sore two days later and now I’m freaked out that I have herpes. I’ve never had a cold sore in my life and we have made out before and nothing happened. He is convinced that the germs from my cold just caused it but I’m really scared that I have herpes. We’ve done a lot of research but keep finding different answers. Do I have herpes and did I give it to my friend?

Anon says:

More than 85 percent of the population is infected with herpes simplex one virus. It’s not something anyone should be ashamed of as most of us pick it up as kids from over kissy relatives. In some peoples case they never get a cold even though they’re infected. I have a few tips to help people that have cold sores treat them. DO NOT POKE OR BURST THEM. The virus is highly contagious and you can spread it to other areas of your body by pinching and prodding at it. When you get a cold sore take lysine supplements. If you do get cold sores then your iron levels are probably low. The virus binds itself more easily when ferritin levels are low so you should take an iron supplement to prevent them (as prescribed by a doctor of course). If you do touch your cold sores make sure you wash your hand throughly with soap before touching any other part of your body or you could spread the virus. If you do get a break out dab a cotton bud in rubbing alcohol and gently hold it on the sore. In one or two days of doing this the sore would have dried up and scabbed which is the final stage of the cold sore cycle. Once this has happened DO NOT PULL OR PINCH THE SCAB. Use petroleum jelly on the scab to keep it moist so it does not tear or break and this will speed up the healing process. Hope this helps.

Joshua balcazar says:

May God One Day Heal Us All !

Jay says:

I’ve suffered with cold sores since I was a child I’m 23 now, My mum gets them often and I assume that’s where it came from, I got them a lot in school, I used to pick them and make them worse because I wanted to get rid of them, I got judged for having them and always felt dirty, I didn’t get them for a few years afterwards and started getting them again around a year ago, now I just ignore them and they are gone before I know it but always wondered if there was some sort of prevention medication for them.

as soon as u feel the coldsore coming on soak cotton in alcohol,place over it,keep on,if pain starts,stop a min,add morekeep up untilfeeling of cs goes away. Take multivitamin Lysine. My daughters broke out every month and has not had one in over a year now she only took it for 6 months and I’m sure if one reappears she will again. The alcohol does worKS great hold it with a bandaid or press ur lips to hold it.

John pete says:

Why did I have to know about this and HPV I had a bump on my lips last year than I got over it but couple months ago I started going to get check up from the doctor and my fear came back. Now I can’t get it out of my head if everyone has it then why is it such a big deal. Why God , why me?

Emily says:

I’m dreading going to school with a cold sore tomorrow because I’m terrified people will think I have an STD. I’ve never so much as kissed someone, but I’ve gotten these since I was a kid. I stopped having so many as I got older, but I had a breakout yesterday. I wish people would stop thinking cold sores are synonymous with STDs.

Latoya James says:

I am fourteen years of age and I use to experience cold sores when i was small this year i only go it once so i do not know what is going on

umair says:

hi, im 30 year old and married guy. i have been never heard about cold sore. but 4 days ago i shaved in night time and next day exact 24 hour something happend on my lips corner. i just scared and then i went to dr so they said to me its cold sore. im really in stress about. im still in this problem and i dont know how to get rid of it. can anyone help me and tell me. thanks

Anon says:

I got a cold sore once when I was four and have never gotten one again since (twelve years). Is it at all infectious when dormant, even just in rare cases?

a. noyd says:

I currently have a cold sore and I am 29 years old and rather furious at the moment actually. Not because I have it but because I can’t figure how or why. It seems to have crusted over already (yay?) but with the ointment over it, it’s kinda hard to tell. Also, I haven’t realized how often I touch my face until now. Nor how vain I apparently am. Goddammit.

aujunica says:

I recently got my first cold sore. I am 17 years old, a senior in high school. A while before getting my cold sore the top of my lips felt like the burned,itched, and very numb. I kept putting saliva over it and then bam a cold sore. I am very self conscious of them. I know its not serious as hsv2 but now its like I can not be happy. happy. It seems

Batgirl says:

EVERYONE!!!!!!! I’m 59, I’ve been getting cold sores since about 2, got it from a long dead aunt (don’t even know her name and I’m holding a major grudge). ANYWAY, I’ve found a way to stop these as soon as I feel the tingle and can go long stretches without an outbreak. I use Abreva. It’s expensive but I’ve found it works best for me. BUT the most important thing in my remedy is an essential amino acid called Lysine. I take 1000 mg a day, EVERY DAY, in pill form (over the counter in the vitamin section) and stay away from foods that can trigger an outbreak, like asparagus. It has an amino acid called Arginine which contributes to an outbreak. You can google foods that trigger an outbreak. SO BOTTOM LINE, take Lysine daily which will make outbreaks fewer and farther between and if you do get one use a topical cold sore ointment as soon as you feel it coming on and it may never even get big enough for anyone to notice!!!!!!!

Theresa says:

The L-lysine work . If you take it everyday it prevents the sore from coming out. I’ve had these sore since I was 10. . I stopped taking the lysine and I got the sores back. So now I know I need to take them every day

Victoria Oo says:

Hello everyone, I am 26 years old female from developing country. In our developing world, having herpes virus and cold sores is nothing serious because almost everyone has it. A year ago, I have to study in Germany and having cold sores in here giving me insecurities. But I have used Acyclovir cream that produced from Thailand. I don’t know where to buy L-lysine, maybe I should check in Supermarket in here. My friends told me that I have sexually transmitted diseases since I have cold sores and herpes simplex type 1. I don’t know how I have it, but not definitely from sexual intercourse since I never have it. I just don’t like the way they put Herspes simplex type 1 into sexually transmitted disease. And I am having insecurities now.

maria says:

I have had it ever since I was really little I used to get time all the time. but they went away for a long time so I was happy. but ever since I turned 17 I have been getting them but the are not bad at all. most people are bad but mind are okay. it does bother me tho… I mean ugh. it sucks people ask a lot of questions. it get annoying the worst part I am stuck with it for life…. ughhh

always had it says:

i’m shocked at how uninformed everybody here is. i’ve been dealing with it my whole life and had it before i ever kissed a girl. the best way to prevent any outbreaks is a strong immune system and prescription medication. acyclovir is what i’ve been using for decades. it’s not guaranteed to prevent anything but it is the most effective way to suppress it. immediately upon feeling any tingling or itching i would take at least 1600 mg of acyclovir. 9 of of ten times it goes away. when it does persist i continue to take it every for 6 hours until the tingling stops. in the event my immune system is so weak and i still get one i take 3200 mg and immediately take a needle (must use needle not fingers), sanitize it and slightly poke any inflamed sores. do not poke the same sore twice. and i find when i go from the side of it rather than head on it heals faster. once they pop this will release fluid and u should immediately hold a tissue against any that are weeping until they completely stop. this may take awhile and even stop n start again but it will dry out completely eventually. once it is completely dry and stops weeping (which will happen faster once medication kicks in) you are already in the healing stage of the sore. if you do not pop it with a needle it could take days until it does on its own and it could get really big n spread. obviously use caution and always wash hands extremely well before and after. once it is dead (you’ll feel the difference) it’s just a matter of it healing like any other pimple or cut. but caution it is still contagious and will be until days after it looks fine. some people here suggest creams and petroleum jelly but do not use any of these things on sores. the sores feed off of moisture and in my experience will worsen it and possibly cause it to spread. even prescription creams won’t work. the best way to handle this cold sore curse (as i call it) is to eat a lot of vegetables and a healthy diet consisting of foods that boost your immune system and taking vitamins if necessary. i eat well and take extra vitamin c and e to boost mine. i rarely if ever get them when i’m consistently eating right n getting my proper nutrition. some ppl take lysine and if definitely helps but the reason is because it works against arginine in your body and arginine causes cold sore outbreaks. so limiting arginine is just as effective. i will tell you that certain foods always trigger it in me and those are chocolate (especially dark chocolate) and peanuts and i’m pretty sure they are both high in arginine (not positive so look it up if u care). working out regularly and playing sports and doing cardio will also make your immune system very strong. lastly and possibly most importantly is lack of sleep. it’s what causes most people’s immune system to weaken and in my experience has caused the most outbreaks. i know i contradict a lot of what was written on here but iif you follow my advice you will have the least amount of outbreaks possible and when they’re inevitable and do come you will experience way shorter duration of the outbreak. hope i can help someone out there cause i know that feeling you all get all too well and i hate it too. any questions please ask. ill periodically check here

Megan says:

Tips I’ve found and used:
– Put an ice cube on the spot that is tingling before you get a cold sore and you may be able to keep it down and not form
– Put an ice cube on an already formed cold sore to make it smaller, reducing the swelling
– Carmex is your best friend
– Daily L-Lysine supplements
– I double my L-Lysine supplements when I have a cold sore
– Putting a hot tea bag (black tea) on a cold sore will help to both dry it out and reduce swelling

The internet is a plethora of knowledge. And how freeing it was that I told my current (first serious) boyfriend about it and he UNDERSTOOD and didn’t look grossed out. I had never told anyone before (people knew obviously) but saying it and not having someone act disgusted was so awesome! We will not be alone forever. Over 85%!!!!! Your partner is more likely than not to have it, too. We’re okay :-)

Rachel says:

I am 30 years old and I have been getting cold sores for as long as I can remember. Usually one or two in the exact same spot every year. My lip is actually kind of permanently messed up because of it. I never really cared until I was a teenager, then it got a lot harder, 20’s were a bit better. Moved out west when I was 25 and it got really bad. Multiple sores at once during the summer… Terrible. Did some research, first time I heard them called fever blisters and I thought what if it’s just because my lips are too dry? I haven’t had one since I was 28 because I use moisturizer on my face and lips, with vitamin E everyday. I make sure I never bite them and keep them and yourself hydrated. I try not to use certain lip balms because I felt like they made me break out (nivea is the only one I can think of right now.) They say stress but I am always stressed it’s who I am but maybe for others haha. When I feel like I might get one I just use abreeva or blistex(the blue one ‘medical’ one) and it never actually happens. Hope this helps :)

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