COLD SORE STAGES: FROM BEGINNING TO HEALING
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters or oral herpes, are very common. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the oral form of the virus. They can be easy to recognize as they usually appear as red bumps or blisters around the lips and mouth.
Here’s a look at the typical cold sore stages, from the start of a cold sore
Treating with Abreva® Cream at the first sign of a cold sore, the tingle stage, will give you the best results.
Early Stages of a Cold Sore
Days 1–2: Tingle Stage
This is when you’ll feel those first few symptoms that hint at the start of a cold sore. Your skin could feel like it is tight and itchy, and the affected area may become red and swollen. It’s your body’s way of responding to the infection.
Never squeeze the blisters. Squeezing can reactivate the healing process and even lead to scarring.
Beginning of a Cold Sore
Days 2–4: Blister Stage
This is when you first see the blister. It probably looks like a group of small, painful bumps that may multiply or grow. When this is happening, your cold sore blister fills with fluid and the surrounding skin becomes red and swollen.
Wash your cold sore with soap and water to help avoid spreading the virus.
Midpoint of a Cold Sore
Day 4: Ulcer Stage
This can be the most painful cold sore stage, as the blisters burst and a shallow ulcer (open sore) develops. You may also see a red ring of inflammation around the affected area. To help reduce the pain and swelling, you can always take an over-the-counter pain reliever and use hot or cold compresses to help reduce inflammation.
Don’t peel off the scab as you could damage the new, delicate skin. Instead, let it fall off naturally.
Cold Sore Scab Stage
Days 5–8: Scabbing Stage
This is when your cold sore dries out and a yellow/brown scab forms over it. As your scab shrinks, it may leave you with painful cracks in your lip, which are prone to bleeding. You may also experience severe itching and burning.
Check whether or not you need to buy more Abreva® so you’re prepared for the next tingle.
Start of the Cold Sore Healing Stage
Days 8–10: Healing Stage
As your scab starts to come off, you may notice some dry flaking and residual swelling. Your skin may also remain slightly pink or red.