Main Article on Cold Sores Question: Please describe your experience with herpes simplex infections (cold sores, non-genital). Submit Your Comment Comment from: lee67, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 12 I never had cold sores till my late 40s! I always get the thing on my chin of all places; awful. It makes me feel sick and the thing swells up huge and makes my lymph nodes sore underneath my jaw. I think perimenopause has brought these on; hormones fluctuating. I find it burns at first. I take L-lysine at first feeling and put on a coating of prescribed Zovirax cream which really helps lessen it. Also soaking a cotton ball in water with a few drops of tea tree oil works really well. Comment from: Jkim , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 03 I am 25 and I think I may be having my first outbreak of cold sores. I have had the tingle, itch, and burn symptoms for 4 days now. The bump has gotten noticeably bigger, swollen and red. It’s also very tender (I’ve had blisters on my hand and the tenderness is similar to that). However, it doesn’t look like a blister since there seems to be a head/point (like a pimple). Wonder how long it usually takes for the blister to pop. I’m wondering if it’s possible that it’s something else and not a cold sore. Comment from: Kelly , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 25 I get married in less than 2 weeks and have developed a big cold sore. I’ve got the cream and tried the old wives’ tale about perfume to stop it getting bigger, but it is still very tingly and sore. Comment from: LightNZ, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 19 Recently I got my first cold sore at 35, not sure how or from whom I got It. My immunity was very low, my menstrual cycle was finished and I had a chest infection prior. Usually I am healthy and haven't been sick in over a decade. The night before I had a burning tingling sensation. I had applied too much Lucas Papaw ointment on my lips and fell asleep. In the morning I woke to severely chapped skin on the lips that turned into a tiny white pus blister on my top lip. Doctor confirmed HSV 1. My aim is to strengthen my immune system and prevent them. Comment from: Julie S, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 16 Herpes simplex infections/cold sores are a viral infection of the skin that may occur once or return again and again. A drug named acyclovir is efficient in healing herpes simplex. It must be taken by mouth. There is a cream form, which is a waste of money because it only shortens an outbreak from 14 days to 12 to 13 days and it is expensive. Or consult with Board Certified Surgeon. Comment from: Smith, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 27 My bottom lip gets so dry underneath. It stings as though cold sores are going to appear, but they don't. Comment from: Yoopy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 15 I got my first outbreak of cold sores at 30, thanks to an extended family member. It was awful; fever, chills, sores in my mouth and inside lip. After that I would get maybe one a year but it was on just the inside of my lip but still very painful. Abreva, lysine, ice, none shortened the 7 to 10 days it took to heal. Then I discovered ViraSoothe. Literally a miracle. Roll it on a few times a day at first sign and the sores never even break open. Gone completely in 3 days! Comment from: Michelle, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 28 I am 49 years old and I have had a cold sore for almost a year. I have taken 3 months acyclovir and 1.25 months of Valtrex but I can’t get rid of this cold sore. It hurts and turns white by the end of the day. Comment from: Mojog , 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 24 Herpes simplex infections are painful and somewhat embarrassing. I've had sores on my mouth since I was a teenager. Now at age 37 I have my first outbreak on and in my nose. Great! I manage it with acyclovir and Neosporin. Comment from: Kim, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 15 Trust me this works! I've been cold sore free for more than a year. Rule number 1, always carry hand sanitizer everywhere you go. Never be without it! Whenever you feel that tingly feeling, grab some tissue/cotton ball and rub it on your lips. The hand sanitizer needs to be applied immediately after you feel the tingly feeling. If you don't rub it on time you will get a cold sore. No worries. Keep applying the hand sanitizer until it gets really dry. Sore will dry in 3 days. SLIDESHOW Rosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases See Slideshow Comment from: Jessica, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 14 I have suffered too much from cold sores since childhood. I’m 35 and I actually came here to see if it is normal to randomly stop getting outbreaks. I have not taken any medication or lysine, or changed birth control methods. My stress levels have basically stayed the same, pretty high to regular. I used to have 3 to 7 outbreaks a year. Some were small, some were large and lingering (the ones that heal and then show up on the other lip or other side right as the previous one disappears). Wonder if this happened to anyone else. Comment from: Nobody , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 14 I get about 10 to 15 herpes simplex outbreaks per year, sometimes more. They pop up with no warning, by the time I feel the tingling my lip is already twice the normal size and covered in blisters; they sometimes appear in the space of 10 minutes. Acyclovir tablets help a lot, my general physician is reluctant to put me on them permanently so I usually get them prescribed privately. It costs a lot but at least taking them every day I can have a romantic and sex life, otherwise I'm always too scared to kiss or have oral sex. Comment from: S brennan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 25 I get cold sores fortnightly and they are so deep I have scars around my mouth. Zovirax does not halt or help the development of the sores. I’m at the end of my tether. Comment from: srun, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 05 The tingling begins and I go into triage/panic mode. I have had herpes simplex infections since childhood. Cold sores tend to appear after exposure to the sun, resistance down, and stress. The virus shreds. It’s disgusting. The simplex virus 1 lays dormant in your cheek and comes down from your nerve (explains the tingling). No cure. However, packing ice or tea bags helps with the swelling and makes it appear a little less angry. Lysine is the best defense. You can take orally or apply through a gel. Abreva dries them out. Comment from: Ally, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 27 I get a cold sore a couple of times a year. I get headaches, a stuffy nose, exhaustion, and a sore throat with it every single time. Lysine doesn't fully prevent them for me. I take it 3 times a day when I get a sore to help fight it off. Abreva does absolutely nothing for me. I swear by Herpatch. I order it online from overseas. It creates a barrier so I can hide the sore safely with makeup. Comment from: BactineLover, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 07 My cold sore lives in the nerves of my top lip, on the right. During the winter, break-outs can be worse and migrate towards my nose. After trying everything, I've found that Bactine, applied on a cotton ball and held in place (with constant sprays of Bactine to keep the cotton moist) works incredibly well. If applied as soon as the tingle happens, it can prevent it entirely. Usually though, it just reduces swelling and blistering and prevents that oozy crust that makes my life miserable. Comment from: amschu , 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 31 I’ve been getting cold sores since I was about 11 years old, before I even hit puberty. I’ve been told many times that you can get cold sores and it not be connected to the herpes simplex virus. And I’ve been tested multiple times and nothing has ever shown up in my blood tests for STD screening. So I don’t understand why all of a sudden now that I’m trying to do more research on it, it’s only telling me that it has to be HSV 1! Comment from: Wondering, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 30 This is the second time in about three years I have a sore on my thigh. I was told it was due to stress. I guess it is herpes, but I haven't had it anywhere on my genitalia. Then I thought about every blue moon I got a cold sore under my nose. I wonder if I should have had this HPV that's being talked about. Comment from: Ria, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 11 The 1st sore from herpes simplex infections was angular cheilitis. No idea at first until I googled. In cold season I tend to lick my mouth. I had a very dry lip that day and I picked and removed dry layer of my lower lip in the corner. Then, the sore and scabbing happened next. It took 5 days. I did not take or apply medicines. The 2nd one is same spot like the 1st. It was diagnosed as cold sores, due to stress, sun exposure and illness. Started as clear blisters and popped, now it is crusting and scabbing. I am on prescribed antiviral medicines but no topical. Comment from: Me, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 10 I’m 32, female, and just had my first herpes simplex outbreak. Initially I had this intense burning feeling like my lips were on fire, then followed with crazy dry lip irritation. Two days later my bottom left lip swelled up. Then I used lysine lip balm overnight which helped my lips, both the cold sore and dry lips. I went to the doctor and got some pills valacyclovir, and I waited for the cold sore. It never came, I only got 3 little red dots but they vanished after 3 days. I also used Blistex like a lip mask overnight for two nights. QUESTION Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer Comment from: Castom92, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 19 I have been dealing with the HSV-1 underneath my eyes for the past two months. I have been on daily Valtrex, I am taking L-lysine twice a day and my optometrist gave me a prescription for Zirgan, an ointment I put on every 3 hours. The blisters will still not fully go away. I take precautions when going outside in the sun and I keep my stress as low as possible, but I am feeling so defeated and I don’t know what to do. I am scared to death I might pass this herpes simplex infection on to someone else, especially my kids. Comment from: V, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 18 I am 30 and I have been getting cold sores since I was a little kid. Only about once a year when I would get a bad cold or go to the dentist. As of a year ago I have been getting them every 2 weeks even on 2 g daily Valtrex. I have tried lysine, changed my diet, quit my job for a few months, exercise, vitamins, and every possible lip cream. I am very self-conscious and feeling defeated. The doctors have done blood tests and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. I am feeling hopeless. Comment from: Macygrl, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 09 I lay out in the sun, got a huge blister on bottom lip, which then continued into cold sore. I was trying many remedies for herpes simplex infection that just did not work. My problem is that you could never keep the cold sore dry; it was always sticky and would never ever heal! Well good news is my new found remedy. Get some tissue, wet it and put a little antibacterial soap on it and gently rub it on the sore, get all the gummy stickiness off of it, then rinse well with warm water. Pat dry gently until very dry. Now here we go. Get Coppertone Water babies waterproof sunscreen and put a thin coat on and let dry. Then add a second coat generously and let dry. Put on the sun screen and pat it with a tissue 3 times a day. By the end of the day your cold sore will feel better, look better and be almost all gone. No Kidding! It is that you need to keep it dry and waterproof sunscreen does that for you! I don’t know about anyone else but cold Sores are so embarrassing. I am so glad I used my noggin on this one! Comment from: Matt, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 09 I'm surprised I haven't seen this yet. L-lysine is the miracle vitamin! I have had cold sores since I hit puberty in my teens. I don't know how or where I got them from, but it definitely wasn’t transmitted sexually. I think somebody may have kissed me as a little boy or I must have drunk something after somebody, who knows! Anyway, I've tried everything for herpes simplex infection. Abreva only takes you so far. It doesn't prevent cold sores, it just helps them heal quicker. Plus, it is expensive for that little tube! I'm here to tell you that you need to go to the store and purchase a bottle of L-lysine! I take one pill every morning. I have not had a single cold sore in the 4 years I have taken lysine! I used to get them at least twice a year! I could not rave more about this vitamin. Like all of you, I've been embarrassed and even ridiculed for cold sores. I have hidden myself away and have missed special events because of herpes. I feel like L-lysine has helped give me that part of my life back. Do yourself a favor and go get a bottle. Published: October 09 I get them occassionally, and I will swear by Abreeva especially if you attack it with the stuff right away, the second you feel that tingle/sensation. I'm practically running to the store. I found someone's comment on the internet about applying ice for 15 minutes at a time (the cold inhibits the virus). That was a miracle!!! The cycle of the cold sore was SOOO much quicker. 2-3 days and it was gone!!! Try it out, best of luck! Comment from: Krastol, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 06 I have had HSV1 (herpes simplex virus) outbreaks since childhood. When I feel the tingle and know an outbreak is hours away, I take lysine. This 100 percent prevents blistering. My sister and my grandmother do the same thing. Comment from: lisa joe, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 06 Finding out I have herpes simplex virus and HIV wasn’t easy. But as time has passed, I have slowly come to terms with it and try to tackle it with a positive attitude. In mid-2012 I became quite ill. I developed persistent flu-like symptoms, headaches, a nagging cough and sores that wouldn’t heal. My skin felt as if it was crawling, my legs ached, I felt nauseous and lost weight. Then exhaustion hit. It is an indescribable tiredness. Comment from: Jeeves, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 29 I began getting cold sores when I was 11. Middle school was not fun for me. I have had up to 4 at a time on my upper lip, in my nose, below my nose, lower lip, below my lower lip. I get them about every three months. They start as a tingling, burning, itching, or feel numb. Then the small blisters appear; the skin with blisters on it will die and become a painful sore, the sore scabs over and slowly heals, splitting open as I eat, smile, etc. From blisters to heal the shortest time I have experienced is 5 days using Abreva, washing the area with soap and re-applying after meals and any chance I get. Stress, sun, caffeine, nicotine, illness, and irritation to the area, are all causes. Keeping the area dry and clean and using Abreva is the best at speeding up the process. I have had some success with a cold compress, and relaxation / visualization exercises. A healthy diet and exercise as well as two B-100 complex vitamins daily has reduced the outbreaks by half. Comment from: firstimer, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 23 Ok, this really bites! At 50 years of age, I had my first cold sore ever....exactly 7 days after I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning. I can't help but feel a little contaminated. At first, I didn't even know what I had. Unlike the popular "tingling" sensation, mine started with a dry burning feeling, late in the afternoon. When I went to bed, I had a tiny bump in my top lip, so I thought maybe I had cut it on a straw. The next morning I got up to an atrocious site and it was so painful! My top lip looked like I had been stung or bitten by something. I still wasn't sure what was going on. It wasn't until the 3rd day, that I could see the little blisters forming and decided it was in fact, a cold sore. I did go to the doctor and he prescribed Zovirax. I've been using it for 2 days now and I'm not really impressed with the results so far. My advise to anyone experiencing anything for the first time, like I have described, is to seek immediate medical attention (especially if you had a recent visit to the dentist). You might save yourself days of pain and embarrassment. Comment from: Mags, 45-54 Female Published: September 11 I was in my mid twenties when I first felt an itchy spot in the middle of my chin. I had no idea it would turn into a big ugly sore. Since then, I have been getting these things on and off for 25 years. They’re always on my bottom lip or chin or both. There are two main causes. One is the sun, which is just fabulous when you are on vacation. The other one is stress, which is just what you need when you are starting a new job. I notice that I feel a bit run down at the time they occur. If I can zap it with Zovirax as soon as I feel that first little itch, then I can normally contain the severity of the attack. Comment from: 1969, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 08 I would like to share my story, and any insight would be appreciated. I had herpes test in November, tested positive for having 1, but not HSV (herpes simplex virus) 2. My index was 2.50. I read that between 1.1 and 3.5 is false positive, and over 3.50 is definitely positive. I have never had an outbreak. I was tested in 2014 and both were negative. Within 2 years I tested positive for 1. I am so confused. I have read everything I can and can't get any definite answers. The doctor just accepted the test as positive because that's what it concluded. Comment from: Sharon, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 09 I only get a cold sore once every couple of years. I have my primary Dr. prescribe me Valtrex (I get the now available generic brand) so I can get several prescriptions a year to keep on hand. I get very ill from cold sores. I get fever, chills, and big knots under my chin, and jaw area. I also take an antibiotic with a cold sore. If I didn't have the Valtrex, my cold sore would take up almost 50% of my lip. I get flu like symptoms with them. But I only get them once every two to three years, but it's always very bad, and make me sick. Comment from: sak6769, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 04 My son gets cold sores every year during this season. We found Abreva to relieve the pain and it keeps it from getting worse and decreases the healing time greatly. A great product. Comment from: 25-34 Published: November 04 I have had cold sores since I was 14 years old, despite not knowing what it really was, even after seeing a doctor. During college I was actually told I had cold sores by a doctor and given Valtrex which is AMAZING! I don't take it daily but when taken at the first sign of the tingle will substantially decrease the severity of the cold sore and shorten healing time way better than even Abreva. It’s easy to ask the doctor despite its advertisement as treatment for genital herpes. No side effects and it is well known as a treatment for cold sores. I keep it on me all the times and take it anytime I am worried about and outbreak and I haven't had one in a year. I swear it's the best treatment, besides all the topical things to relieve discomfort. It is a little embarrassing since everyone knows what this drug treats, but not as embarrassing as the bump! Like most people I get them from sun, stress and severe illness, but I feel I have cold sores really under control now. Comment from: (Patient) Published: October 29 Ouch! Right now I have the worst case of cold sores that I have had in my life. They are covering 75% of my lips. I have been unable to show my face at work for the last 4 days - it is so bad and embarrassing. (Thankfully my boss is understanding and I am able to work from home this week) I don't know what to do for it except sleep a lot, take L-Lysine pills (I think they work), and apply Abreva. Sometimes they come up from stress, lack of sleep - but this time it started with chapped lips. BAM! Sometimes they come on so fast it is unbelievable. Grrr. Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 22 Tea Tree Oil. I've been getting them for 35 Years, since I was 4. I've tried a lot and the best thing for me is tea tree oil. The blisters are not getting as big and painful and heal quicker. Sometimes it goes away even before becoming a blister. I've told other sufferers and they agreed. Comment from: Trouble40, 45-54 Female Published: October 21 I have been getting cold sores since college. About 30 years. Lately they have been showing up after I have had severely chapped lips. This can be from whatever. The last bout was after a big, fun party. I also drank pop out of a can which seems to trigger them. They pop up whenever, but usually with chapped lips for me. Not necessarily sun-related, but from whatever. I have used Carmex, with limited success, usually to just keep things moist. I have also used regular white toothpaste at night (Colgate/Crest), which seems to help dry them up faster. I think will try the ice trick. Yes, they are ugly and painful. Wish there was a cure. Comment from: cyndiep40, 35-44 Female Published: October 20 I have been having cold sores for as long as I can remember. I am 44 years old and for some reason it seems to be getting worse. I went from two to three times a year until almost every other month, usually around my cycle. Abreva seems to clear them up in three to four days. I never heard of anyone getting the cold sores from me. I have been married for 25 years. Comment from: ps, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 19 Up until 2002 I never had a cold sore...In 2002 I underwent chemo for cancer..after that, I get them..one every once in a while, when I was sick..but since 9/15/09 till this date, I have had five different attacks. Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 19 I have been getting cold sores since I was a kid and I think I got it from my parents. It is an embarrassing issue to have because a) you cant hide it and b) the stigma behind it. Everyone just assumes it's herpes like the regular STD. I hope more people are aware that anyone can contract this and does not mean we are "dirty" or anything. Comment from: LOve101, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 16 I'm 18 years old and I have been getting fever blisters since I was a young girl. Now the doctors seem to be no help! It’s so embarrassing and when I do get them (like 2 or 3 times out of the year). I feel so self-conscious and I limit myself into going outside. Only thing I know that helps is....NOTHING, but isolating myself from others and let it heal on its own! I've tried everything and it seems to take the same amount of time as putting anything on there! I've got one now and I just wait and wait as it dries up and goes away. Comment from: Sammy, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 15 I’ve been getting cold sores since I was about 6 years old. I usually get one followed straight away by a second, each lasting about a week at a time. I have not yet found any decent cures for them, other than putting a compress on to try to limit the amount of moisture getting on the sore. Comment from: Bazza, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 12 I have been getting cold sores for as long as i can remember. I am 28, I can have up to 6 at a time and they hurt. I can get them when i'm stressed, run down, out in the sun and sometimes for no apparent reason. As soon as i feel a tingle, I know within 10 minutes I'll have blisters galore which is not a good sight. The only thing I use which I find works well is tea tree oil, straight onto a burst blister. It hurts but it seems to work for me. Comment from: Young Grandmother, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 07 I am 48 years old and got my first cold sore 2 days after getting a tooth pulled. I also feel like I got it from the dentist's office. I searched the internet for clues and discovered it was a fever blister. I have been using Campho-Phenique and Abreva. I've had the blisters for 5 days now. It causes lots of distress, and I don’t know if these products are working. Comment from: Greg, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 07 I get a cold sore about once every 8 months to a year. Mine are very painful and I usually keep it for around 2 - 2-1/2 weeks. I cannot keep it from cracking and it spreads from the corner of my mouth to just under my lip. It burns and is really, really nasty looking and REALLY freakin’ embarrassing. The Nexcare and Carmex have ZERO effect on this monster. I've never been to a doctor but after this last out break I can't take it anymore, the doctor is getting a visit! Comment from: livelifeontherun, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 07 I am 19 now and I noticed my first cold sore when I was about 16, I had shared a drink with my step mom without even thinking... oh man do I resent that drink! I usually only get an out break twice a year... but always in the worst possible place and time! I believe mine comes from stress and right around my period... I use abreva and that seems to work pretty well.. I was just hoping maybe someone had miricale cream that would make it disappear in a day... maybe I will just have to try some more out... man I feel dirty from this! ughhh.... Comment from: Ann, 45-54 Female Published: September 23 I think I have a cold sore on my lip, inside my nose (it's runny nose season), and on my eye lids. They do not appear severe. I believe that I contracted them in the daycare center where i work. Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 23 I currently have one of the worst outbreaks of cold sores I have ever had. I am 99.999% certain this outbreak has been caused by a fairly severe sunburn on my face and lips, no blisters but bad for my face. While I have had sunburns before on the face I protect my face as much as possible to prevent them. My lips were burnt as was my face after approximately 7 hours in the sun. I use Carmex and medicated lip blam to relieve pain and keep the sores from cracking and hurting. Carmex is the easiest to apply and is the least painful for me as it gets really soft and liquidy when in contact with the skin. Comment from: Belvita, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 23 I’m infected and I suffer from a cold sore for days. This time, I have been under stress at work and I’ve been exposed to the sun during a trip last week. It is so painful, I’m actually using Zovirax and I’m still waiting to recover. Comment from: little red head, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: September 16 I am 18 and this is the first time I have ever had a cold sore. It hurts so bad, it is on my top lip RIGHT in the center. I was out in the sun all day yesterday and then today I woke up with this lovely beast on my face. I immediately put Abreva on it now I just have to wait to see how well this works. Comment from: Jackie, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 06 I am 24 and have gotten cold sores since i was a little girl. My mother gave it to my sister and me. Since I have had them for so long I have used many things to fight them. I found a combo of all of them works best. The ice helps to stop the growth and tea-tree oil to dry it out which makes it scab and go away faster. Once the blister is filled in, hot black tea bags used the same as ice and Zovirax from my doctor and vitamins b-12/c/and Zinc. With all of these together, mine last about 4 days. It’s a lot but I would rather do all this then stay inside for 2 weeks.