Home Health And Medicine Cold Sore Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

A cold sore blister is a large, painful lesion that can weep and seep with pus. Gross, I know. They are also very contagious. You can easily pass on a cold sore if you’re not careful. You can even create an outbreak on another part of your body if you’re not careful.

All you have to do is to touch the cold sore and then rub your eyes. That can cause an outbreak around your eyes, which is really not fun.

Facts About Cold Sores

Cold sores are usually caused by herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). It is the cousin of herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-2), which is primarily associated with genital herpes.

About 65 percent of the world’s population under 50 has HSV-1. Cold sores usually appear as a single watery blister on the lip or mouth or several blisters that consolidate into one.

They can be painful and may take up to 14 days before active healing begins.

Take Extra Precautions

Don’t forget, you have to be careful during an outbreak or you can pass the infection on to others and even on to yourself in other areas of your body.

Having an outbreak around your mouth is bad enough, think of what it would be like around your eyes or on your fingers. Yuck. Wash your hands thoroughly and often to help avoid this problem.

And to try and decrease the number of infections you get, try to eat right, get plenty of sleep, use a multi vitamin and wash your hands thoroughly. It’s always better to prevent an outbreak then it is to treat one.

Things that can reactivate HSV-1 include:

  • stress
  • fatigue
  • infection or fever
  • hormonal changes
  • sun exposure
  • surgery or physical injury

If you have cold sores, you can help prevent transmission of HSV-1 by:

  • avoiding close physical contact, such as kissing or oral sex, until the sore is fully healed
  • not touching your cold sore unless you’re applying a topical medication
  • not sharing items that might have been in contact with your mouth, such as eating utensils or cosmetics
  • being extra careful about avoiding close physical contact with babies and people with weakened immune systems, who are both more vulnerable to infection

Cold sores are small blisters that occur on and around your lips and mouth. They’re caused by a virus called HSV-1. Once you contract HSV-1, you have the virus for life.

While you’ll always be able to spread the virus, you’re most contagious when you have an active cold sore.


At the very beginning of an outbreak you will feel a slight tingling or burning feeling on the site of the outbreak, usually the lips.

This can occur many days before the actual blister appears so it’s important that you recognize it so you don’t pass it on before you realize that you’re getting a cold sore and that you’re contagious.

The next stage in the development of a cold sore blister is the actual blister. It’s usually fairly small at this point and there can even be more than one clumped together. These blisters are filled with pus and can be not only unsightly but painful as well.

The skin around the blister will be tender and painful to the touch. It can also have a red appearance and just look sore. After a while the blisters will become even more attractive as they erupt leaving and open, weeping wound (lovely, I know).

After a few days of weeping (the cold sore will be weeping too) the blister will start to dry up and a scab will form. This is the point where the outbreak can start to itch and burn. Try not to give into temptation to scratch or you will break open the scab and cause the area to bleed. The itch and pain will go away after several days.

Over the next several days the scabs will start to fall off and you’ll be left with ‘new’ pink skin. Usually that pink will fade within a few days an you should be left with clear, scar free skin.


Even though most of us will get an outbreak at some point or another, none of us like them. Not only do we want to avoid the pain and ugliness of a cold sore, we also hate the idea that we have to change our daily routines so we don’t pass them on to others.