How long cold sores last varies depending on some certain factors. How early you started treating the sores, the stage of the sores, location and the type of medication used can actually determine the exact number of days your cold sores should last. Moreover, the sores are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and they are commonly seen in both adults and children. Cold sores appear as tiny blisters filled with fluid on or around the mouth. They often occur singly or in clusters on the lips or nose. During the first infection, an infected person will experience symptoms of swollen glands, muscle ache, general body weakness and painful mouth ulcers.
However, the herpes simplex virus is very contagious and could be spread to other people or parts of the body. Once an individual gets infected, the virus will remain dormant in the facial nerve cells and will eventually create sores in the same area of the mouth or face when triggered. Cold sores outbreaks often begin when an infected person has a weakened immune system or exposed to some common cold sore triggers. Outbreaks usually start with a tingling, tightness, soreness, or itching on an area around the lips and nostrils, then tiny clumps of red, fluid-filled blisters begin to form.
How long do cold sores last?
Cold sores don’t last forever, typically they heal within 8 – 12 days, but in some cases it can take up to 2 weeks. Health professionals always advise that if your cold sore does not clear up within one to two weeks, you should visit your doctor. Well, once you catch the herpes simplex virus (HSV) , you will have it for life, the virus lives permanently in the nerve endings. Even after your skin from the cold sore has healed and looks normal, the herpes virus stays dormant in your body. When the sores has healed completely you will not be able to spread the virus from the cold sores, but you can still pass on the virus through your saliva.
In addition, cold sores are very contagious especially when the blisters begin to show up and after they burst, releasing their clear fluid. Scratching the sores and touching other parts of your body without washing your hands can spread the virus. You should be careful when handling cold sores not to spread them to other parts of your body or to other people. Until your cold sores has healed completely, avoid skin-to-skin contact like kissing, oral sex, or sharing your personal items such as towels, eating utensils or toothbrush with any of your family member.
Normally, cold sores heals quickly within a week or two, if it’s treated in its earliest stage. In my previous articles, I gave a detailed guide showing – the causes/triggers and the 5 stages of cold sores. So, knowing the symptoms earlier and taking suitable medication in the earliest stages of your symptoms can help speed up the healing process.
Tingling, burning, or itching may be felt around the lips for several hours or a day before the cold sore appears. If you are able to start treatments within this period of time, it can help reduce the time it takes to heal. However, after the sores has healed completely and the scabs has gone off, you may notice that the skin underneath is pink or reddish for a while and this is to be expected. Get more info about cold sores.