Symptoms and Signs of How to Get Rid of Cold Sores

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on How to Get Rid of Cold Sores

Cold sores are infections with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) in or around the mouth. Of the two herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2), cold sores are more commonly caused by HSV-1. Once the HSV has infected a person, the virus remains dormant in the nerve roots and typically reactivates in response to triggers, causing the same symptoms at the same location. Triggers that can cause the virus to reactivate include emotional or physical stress, illness, a weakened immune system, and exposure to UV radiation.

Signs and symptoms of a cold sore are painful, fluid-filled blisters around the upper lip, mouth, or chin. Associated symptoms can include a burning or tingling sensation that occurs before the outbreak of the blister and itching of the skin. The blisters dry and leave a crust or scab at the involved area.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.