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What are Cold Sores?
Cold sores are also known as fever blisters. They are caused by the herpes simplex 1 virus, and are highly contagious. If you are prone to getting cold sores, you most likely are infected with the herpes simplex 1 virus. This does not mean, however, that you are infected with the herpes simplex 2 virus, which causes genital herpes. Cold sores usually begin with a tingling feeling on the lip, followed by a painful and sometimes oozing sore on the outside of your mouth or on your lip. Cold sores are often confused with canker sores, which are not a virus, and occur on the inside of your mouth. A good rule of thumb to determine if you have a canker sore or a cold sore is if the sore is crusty and on the outside of your mouth, it is a cold sore. If the sore is white around the edges and on inside of your mouth or on your tongue, it is a canker sore.
How Long Do Cold Sores Last Without Treatment?
If a cold sore is left untreated, it will heal on its own. It will take one to two weeks for the average cold sore to heal. Cold sores can be very painful, and to deal with the pain while your cold sore is healing, you can place ice on the sore, apply a benzocaine-containing numbing cream like Anbesol to the sore, and eat cold, neutral foods like yoghurt and cottage cheese to avoid aggravating the cold sore. To cover up the appearance of the cold sore, which may look unsightly, moisturise the cold sore regularly and apply loose make-up powder like Clinique Soft Finish Pressed Powder to the cold sore as needed. This will dry out the sore and cover some of the redness.
How Long Do Cold Sores Last With Treatment?
If your cold sore has lasted longer than two weeks, or the sore is too painful or unsightly to endure, go to the doctor. Your doctor can prescribe treatment to heal your cold sore in five to seven days, like Denavir and Xovirax. Abreva, an over-the-counter cold sore remedy available from the pharmacist's counter at most drugstores, is a topical cold sore medication that is FDA-approved to shorten the healing time of your cold sores. 10% Docosonal is the active ingredient in Abreva, which helps to lessen the severity of cold sores more quickly, and soothe irritation starting the first time you apply it.
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