How Long Do Cold Sores Take To Heal

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How Long Do Herpes Outbreaks Last

How to help heal cold sores…

When you hear the word herpes, the image that comes to mind is probably one of a sore at the edge of your lip that crops up every time you have a cold or a fever. But herpes is a little more complicated that that. Believe it or not, most people who have herpes have absolutely no idea. Thats because, for the most part, the virus can be entirely asymptomatic. Usually the first infection when it comes to oral herpes happens sometime during childhood and not from sexual contact, and the symptoms are a lot more like a cold. In severe cases, the initial outbreak can involve a fever, swollen lymph nodes, swollen gums, and sores in your mouth, throat, or on your tongue. An initial herpes outbreak lasts around 14 days but can take up to six weeks for sores to fully heal .

While oral herpes is most commonly caused by herpes simplex virus 1 , genital herpes is more frequently cause by herpes simplex virus 2 .

Much like oral herpes, an initial genital herpes infection can last a lot longer than subsequent outbreaks and may be accompanied by fever and other whole-body symptoms and some symptoms may persist for weeks. Recurrent genital herpes outbreaks cause symptoms like itching, redness, and irritation in the genital area, but like oral herpes, genital herpes can also be asymptomatic . A genital herpes outbreak may begin with pain in the genitals and shooting pains or tingling in your legs, hips, or butt. These symptoms usually occur before you can see any blisters or lesions .

Do You Need To See A Doctor For Angular Cheilitis

The treatment for cheilitis depends on the cause. Less severe cases may heal up if you apply petroleum jelly or a thick lip balm to the area. If that doesn’t work, you may need to see a doctor, who might take a swab to better identify the cause. You might be given a different type of topical treatment, a hydrocortisone cream, or an anti-fungal ointment or medication. If the cause is a nutritional deficiency, you may need to take iron-replacement pills or specific vitamins. Allergy medication may be needed if there’s a contact allergen at work.

If you develop sores in the corner of your mouth, don’t worry. Angular cheilitis can typically be treated fairly easily. However, don’t be surprised if it returns — recurrence rates can be as high as 80 percent. Talk to your doctor about what preventative measures you can take to prevent the condition from coming back.

What To Expect At Your Office Visit

The provider will examine you, and closely check your mouth and tongue. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms.

Treatment may include:

  • A medicine that numbs the area such as lidocaine to ease pain.
  • An antiviral medicine to treat herpes sores.
  • Steroid gel that you put on the sore.
  • A paste that reduces swelling or inflammation .
  • A special type of mouthwash such as chlorhexidine gluconate .

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Will These Tips Really Work To Speed Up Healing

The above tips should shorten your recovery time. Everyone can experience outbreaks differently. Sometimes symptoms are more severe for some people than others. But, the antiviral and healing properties in these solutions can give you the relief youre looking for at any stage of a blister.

If you want to know how to get the fastest cold sore recovery, you must pay attention to the symptoms. The sooner you can start treatment, the better. Otherwise, you may be waiting awhile for your blister to heal completely.

There are dozens of additional cold sore healing methods to consider. Because they are so common, dozens of relief options have been made available. Its all about finding out what works for you to speed up recovery and promote healing.

These recovery tips are safe and have been proven effective by many cold sore sufferers. Whether you choose a DIY solution or an over-the-counter treatment, such as Virulite, you should be able to reduce the average healing time fairly significantly.

Between antiviral solutions and soothing remedies for painful symptoms, these tips can help you to find relief quickly. If you have a bothersome blister that wont seem to go away, try one of these solutions.

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The Five Cold Sore Stages

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Generally, a cold sore should only last for around 10 days and it goes through five stages in that time4:

It often starts with a strange sensation that could take the form of a tingling, itching or burning, long before you can see anything on the skin.

Over the next two days, you will start to see a small fluid-filled blister appearing around the nose or cheeks or even inside the mouth.

There is often more than one blister, and these can merge and eventually burst.

This leaves shallow, open sores which may ooze and crust over into a scab.

This is the start of the healing process, where the cold sore will eventually disappear. You should take great care not to pick or catch the scab to give it the best chance of healing quickly.

The symptoms of a cold sore will vary from person to person, and often depend on whether this is your first outbreak, or one of many, as the first occurrence can often be the most severe.

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How To Ensure A Quick Recovery

As suggested above, catching the symptoms of a cold sore quickly is the best way to have the fastest recovery time. With the right treatment, you may be able to avoid some of the embarrassment and pain typically associated with flare-ups. But, if you dont experience outbreaks frequently, it can be harder to recognize these symptoms.

So, what can you do to make sure your cold sore heals normally after a blister has already formed? The most important thing is to keep it from spreading.

Because cold sores are caused by a virus, they spread quickly and easily. Not only can they spread to other areas of your own body, but to others. Contracting a blister from another person is one of the most common ways people get them in the first place.

When youre experiencing a cold sore, be aware of everything you touch and everything that touches the affected area. Keep these tips in mind to reduce your chances of spreading.

  • Dont share towels or toothbrushes
  • Make sure anything that touches the affected area is properly washed before using it again
  • Avoid kissing altogether

How Long Do Fever Blisters Usually Last In The Mouth Lips

Cold sores develop in stages and this is what makes the period of time they last. Generally, from the first time you get a tingle, it is supposed to last about 8 to 10 days. This is the period of time it will take to completely heal.

This depends on other factors including the patency of your immune system, predisposing yourself to more complicating factors and medication or methods employed. The scab may however present for a longer while. More about the scab will be discussed in the later sections of this article.

If you happen to get an outbreak, the period might be longer and may even last a couple of weeks. One important thing to note is that once you have had a cold sore, the infection is not completely eradicated. Not even the antivirals do this. Hence, you will get cold sores once in a while. There are however ways you can take care of your lips to make them fewer.

The development of a cold sore is well calculated and this is what lays out the period. The lifespan is as follows:

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When Should I Call My Doctor About My Cold Sores

You should seek treatment for a cold sore if you have:

  • Numerous, frequent or extremely painful cold sores
  • An outbreak that doesnt clear up on its own in about 2 weeks
  • Sores on your eyes, hands, genitals, or another part of your body
  • A compromised immune system, or if you are undergoing chemotherapy or taking medication that weakens your immune system

What Can I Do To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Cold Sores

How to STOP TREAT HEAL a Cold Sore

While cold sores are uncomfortable, you can find relief at home. Suggestions to help manage cold sores:

  • Use over-the-counter creams and ointments: These remedies can help shorten the healing time and ease your symptoms. They are most effective when you use them as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on.
  • Take pain relievers: If you are in a lot of pain, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter topical pain reliever such as lidocaine that you can apply directly to the cold sore. You can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen by mouth to ease your discomfort.
  • Wear sunscreen and SPF lip balm: It is important to make sure a cold sore doesnt get sunburned while it is healing. Also, wearing a lip balm with SPF 30 every day could prevent future cold sores.
  • Avoid acidic foods: Orange juice, tomatoes and other acidic foods can aggravate a cold sore.
  • Apply a cool compress: You can use a cool, damp washcloth to soothe a cold sore. Apply it for a few minutes off and on throughout the day. Be sure to wash the towel after youve used it to avoid spreading the cold sore to others.

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Complications Of Cold Sores

Cold sores are usually mild, but may cause complications in rare cases. People with weak immune systems caused by illness or treatments such as chemotherapy are particularly at risk of complications.

Dehydration sometimes occurs if drinking fluids becomes painful. Young children are particularly at risk of becoming dehydrated.

The herpes simplex virus can also spread to other parts of your body. Examples of when this can occur include:

  • skin infections these often occur if the virus comes into contact with broken skin, such as a cut or graze, or a skin condition such as eczema
  • herpetic whitlow this causes painful sores and blisters to appear on and around your fingers
  • herpetic keratoconjunctivitis this causes swelling and irritation of your eye area and sores to develop on your eyelids

Left untreated, herpetic keratoconjunctivitis can cause the cornea, the transparent layer at the front of your eye, to become infected, which can eventually lead to blindness.

It’s therefore important not to touch your eyes if you have an unhealed cold sore. If you must touch your eyes for example, to remove contact lenses wash your hands thoroughly first.

In very rare cases, encephalitis, a condition where the brain becomes inflamed and swollen, can be caused by the cold sore virus spreading to the brain. It can be treated with intravenous injections of antiviral medications, such as aciclovir.

What Triggers A Herpes Outbreak

As we mentioned, following you first herpes infection, the virus lies dormant in your nerves. Your immune system usually keeps it at bay.

But your immune system can only deal with so much at once. That means if you have dormant herpes and your immune system needs to fend off another virus or bacteria, it may get distracted, allowing herpes to crop up. Thats why cold sores are called cold sores or fever blistersthey typically appear when you catch another bug .

Different types of stress can also trigger outbreaks. Psychological stress, especially the stress caused by extreme emotional upset, can lead to an outbreak .

Things that cause physical stress can also contribute. Sunlight is a common trigger of oral herpes outbreaks, while friction from tight clothing or sex, and even hormone changes associated with menstruation, are common triggers of genital herpes outbreaks .

Speak to a healthcare provider about your options and which treatments might be effective for preventing or shortening your outbreaks.

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Antiviral Creams And Tablets

Antiviral creams such as aciclovir or penciclovir may speed up the healing time of a recurrent cold sore infection if used correctly.

Cold sore creams are widely available over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription.

They’re only effective if you apply them as soon as the first signs of a cold sore appear, when the herpes simplex virus is spreading and replicating. Using an antiviral cream after this initial period is unlikely to have much effect.

If you have frequently recurring bouts of cold sores, use antiviral medication as soon as you feel the tingling sensation that indicates a cold sore is about to develop. You’ll need to apply the cream up to five times a day for four to five days.

Antiviral creams can only help to heal a current outbreak of cold sores. They don’t get rid of the herpes simplex virus or prevent future outbreaks of cold sores occurring.

Antiviral tablets are generally more effective than creams at treating cold sores, but are usually only prescribed for more severe cases.

What Are The Causes Of Angular Cheilitis

How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore Fast

The cause of cold sores is simple: a herpes simplex virus. Treatments are fairly simple, too — either an ointment or antiviral drugs. Angular cheilitis, however, isn’t quite so simple. In fact, there are a number of causes that can lead to the same symptoms. These include a yeast infection, the Staphylococcus bacteria, poor-fitting dentures, drooling while you sleep, antibiotics, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, and deficiencies in iron or vitamins. Even licking your lips too much when they’re chapped can lead to the condition.

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Herpes Outbreak Treatment Options

Even without treatment, most herpes outbreaks go away on their own. There are treatments available, however, which have been proven to shorten and even prevent future outbreaks. These antiviral medications work by preventing the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through your cells to cause an outbreak. If you suffer from oral herpes, a healthcare provider may recommend a topical cream or ointment that you should apply at the first sign of an outbreak. If you experience recurrent genital herpes outbreaks, you may be offered oral herpes treatments which are pills you take by mouth. Examples of antiviral drugs include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir . These are all standard options proven to help decrease the severity and length of outbreaks from herpes .

Prescription antiviral treatments are usually very effective at prevent future outbreaks, reducing the chance of experiencing an outbreak by 7080%. Many people on antiviral therapy report experiencing no herpes symptoms at all . Using medication within the first 24 hours of symptoms can shorten outbreaks by several hours or days, ultimately reducing any discomfort in the long run .

How Long Does A Cold Sore Take To Heal

If you have no other health problems and it’s your first outbreak, a cold sore usually heals without treatment in two to three weeks. For subsequent outbreaks, the process might take one to two weeks. However long it takes for the cold sore to disappear, an outbreak goes through distinct stages before it finally heals.

  • Stage One: This is when you can try to prevent the cold sore from erupting when you feel the tingling, burning, or itching sensation around your lips or skin.
  • Stage Two: The HSV-1 fluid-filled blisters appear, sometimes with multiple small blisters forming a larger red wound. This is when you can treat the cold sore in a recommended manner. But no touching. If the treatment requires applying medicine to the cold sore, always use a clean cotton-tipped swab.
  • Stage Three: After the blisters naturally pop, fluid might ooze out, the sore forms a scab. You’ll need to clean the fluid off in a recommended way to prevent infecting other parts of your body.
  • Stage Four: Finally, the scab will flake off, and the skin returns to normal. At last!

With treatment, you might be able to accelerate the healing process. However, if you have health issues that affect your immune system, the healing process for your cold sore might slow down to four weeks or longer. The Mayo Clinic recommends you contact your doctor if your cold sore doesn’t heal after two weeks.

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What Is The Outlook For Patients Who Have Cold Sores

The majority of people who develop cold sores learn to live with and manage their outbreaks. In healthy people, cold sores usually clear up in one to two weeks and have no lasting effects. However, in young babies, immunocompromised people and those with eczema, cold sores can cause life-threatening infections.

Stage : Scab Formation

What are COLD SORES & How To Get Rid of Them

Your burst blister will dry out forming a yellow-brown scab.i Although this is unsightly, its a sign that your cold sore has begun healing.

As the scab shrinks, it may create painful cracks in your lip that bleed. The area may itch, burn, or feel tight. To ease discomfort, try a cream or balm containing protectants, such as allantoin, petrolatum, cocoa butter or glycerin.iii

Its a good idea to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF30 when outside. Sunscreen protects your lips while the cold sore heals and may help prevent future breakouts as UV light is a cold sore trigger for many people.ii

Check whether or not you need to buy more Abreva® so youre prepared for the next tingle.

Start of the Cold Sore Healing Stage

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Treating Your Cold Sore

  • 1Cover your cold sore scab with a cool compress or ice to reduce swelling and speed up healing. Soak a clean cloth or paper towel in cool water, then wring out the extra water. Fold the cloth or towel in half and drape it over your scab for a few minutes to keep it from itching or burning. After you hold the compress in place, you may notice flecks of the crusty scab begin to peel or lift away.XResearch source
  • Do this on an as-needed basis, depending on how often your cold sore bothers you.
  • This helps reduce any temptation to scratch or pick at your scab, which can make the healing process a lot longer.
  • You can also apply a little ice to help ease the discomfort.
  • 2Dab petroleum jelly over the crusty area. Scoop up a pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly with a clean cotton swab and apply it directly to the scab. Spread the jelly over the entire scab to hydrate it so it’s less visible and heals faster. Try doing this once a day, or whenever your skin feels dry.XResearch source
  • You can find petroleum jelly at a pharmacy, or any store that sells beauty or first aid supplies.
  • Donât use your finger to apply the petroleum jelly, as you donât want to spread germs. If you do use your finger, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before using the jelly.
  • You can apply most of these ointments up to 5 times a day. Dab a small amount onto your cold sore to get relief.
  • Cold sore ointments donât have a drastic impact on the healing process, but you may notice a positive difference.
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