GET THE FACTS

on cold sores

GET THE FACTS

on cold sores

What are cold sores?

Cold sores are viral infections caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and appear as small, painful, fluid-filled blisters (also called vesicles). They are very common and usually self-diagnosable. Most often, cold sores appear on the lips, although they can also appear on noses, cheeks or fingers. While some people never develop any symptoms from HSV-1, others may have periodic outbreaks.

Stages of an outbreak

To view a visual of each stage of an outbreak, click the corresponding red circle.

First signs

A tingling, itching or burning sensation is experienced on or around the lips about 12–24 hours before the cold sore develops.

Blistering

Blisters form, causing the area to become red, swollen and painful.

Weeping

The most contagious and painful stage. Over 2–3 days, blisters rupture and ooze clear or slightly yellow fluid.

Crusting

Around 4–5 days after the cold sore appears, a crust forms and it scabs over.  Cracking or bleeding is common.

Recovering & healing

A series of scabs form on the area, which flake as the cold sore heals.  Left untreated, healing process typically takes 1–2 weeks.

First signs

A tingling, itching or burning sensation is experienced on or around the lips about 12–24 hours before the cold sore develops.

Blistering

Blisters form, causing the area to become red, swollen and painful.

Weeping

The most contagious and painful stage. Over 2–3 days, blisters rupture and ooze clear or slightly yellow fluid.

Crusting

Around 4–5 days after the cold sore appears, a crust forms and it scabs over. Cracking or bleeding is common.

Recovery & healing

A series of scabs form on the area, which flake as the cold sore heals. Left untreated, healing process typically takes 1–2 weeks.

Causes and triggers

HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores, is contagious and spreads easily. There is currently no cure.

Triggers may include:

skin injury

viral infection or fever

hormonal imbalance, such as menstruation

stress or fatigue

changes in immune system

exposure to sunlight, wind, cold and hot weather

Symptoms

Before a blister appears, some people may experience a sore throat, fever, swollen glands or painful swallowing.
Cold sore symptoms may include:

• Mouth: sore lip, tingling, tingling lips, burning sensation or ulcers, sensitive gums
• Skin: blister or cluster of blisters and/or a rash, ulcers or redness

FAQs

Cold sores are caused by certain strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1).

HSV-1 can be spread by kissing or touching someone with cold sores or by sharing eating utensils, towels, lip balm or other personal items with an infected person. During an outbreak, wash your hands carefully before touching yourself and other people, especially babies.

No. However, they can be transmitted through kissing.
Antivirals are the most effective treatment. However, most antivirals act as suppressive therapy. Studies have shown that HSV-1 viruses have developed resistance against ingredients such as acyclovir. DynamiClear® ORO’s patented ingredients has demonstrated strong efficacy against HSV-1.**
Cold sores are most contagious from the moment you first feel signs of a cold sore coming on, to when the cold sore has completely healed. However, the virus can also be spread in the absence of a cold sore.
There is no cure for the virus that causes cold sores, but treatment with DynamiClear® ORO may help manage the frequency and severity of an outbreak.*
50–80% of adults in the US have oral herpes and 20–40% of people who have the virus develop cold sores.
No. Attempting to pop or pick a cold sore could spread the virus further.
No. Canker sores are red-ringed white sores that can look similar to cold sores, but unlike cold sores, are not contagious.

Q&A Sources:
1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Oral herpes. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/herpes-hsv1-and-hsv2/oral-herpes
2. Mayo Clinic. Cold sore. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20371017
3. Cleveland Clinic. Cold Sores. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21136-cold-sores

**In typical cases. Results may vary.