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Cold Sore Symptoms

There are a lot of different cold sore symptoms that occur before and after a sore develops.

A few days before it appears, burning, numbness, pain, tenderness, tingling and itching usually begin at the spot where the cold sore will develop. Your cold sore may even appear as quickly as six hours after those symptoms start.

Additional less common symptoms include a fever, headaches, muscle aches, a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and pain in the mouth that make drinking, eating and even sleeping uncomfortable. The skin where the sore is developing may also become tight, red or swollen.

The cold sore usually looks like a blister or group of blisters. Typically these blisters burst and clear fluid leaks out. The fluid will crust over and this is when scabbing typically begins.

The cold sore generally clears up after seven to twelve days. If treatment, such as the POLYSPORIN® Cold Sore Healing Patch is used, the healing period may be shorter.

If you come in contact with someone who has the herpes simplex 1 virus, cold sores may not develop after the first exposure. They could appear at any time after the first or any subsequent exposure. Once cold sores do develop, however, they tend to be more painful during the first episode or outbreak and less severe in later outbreaks.

Cold sores may appear or erupt all over the outside of the mouth during the first outbreak, but when a cold sore breaks out at a later time, it usually develops where the lip and the facial skin meet.

The symptoms should not last longer than two weeks, especially if you have used a patch or ointment, but if they do you should seek medical treatment. If you feel irritation in your eyes when a cold sore develops or you get cold sore outbreaks very often you should also seek medical treatment.

If you think you are having your first outbreak, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist. If you know an outbreak is coming, consider a treatment such as the POLYSPORIN® Cold Sore Healing Patch.