Cold sores (
herpes labialis), sometimes called fever blisters, are clusters of small blisters on the lip and outer edge of the mouth.
It is different from a canker sore, which appears inside the mouth.
The skin around the blisters is often red and inflamed . The blisters can break open, weep a clear fluid, and then scab over after a few days. Complete healing may take 7 to 10 days.
Cold sores are extremely common – it is estimated that, in the United States,
80%-90% of the population has been infected by the cold sore virus by the time they are 50 years old. Only about 30% of those infected with the virus actually ever get a cold sore.
Factors that can activate a cold sore or fever blister
- infections (i.e. colds)
- over exposure to sunlight
- refined sugars
- hormonal changes
- Trauma, such as shaving, cuts, dental work, facial/cosmetic surgery
Symptoms and stages of cold sores
- 1) Tingling discomfort or itching
- 2) Redness and swelling
- 3) Eruption of lesion
- 4) Oozing of lesion
- 5) Lesion dries and forms a thin yellowish scab