How long do cold sores last? Well, it has been my experience that cold sores last approximately two weeks depending on their size and severity. If you are like me and are one of approximately 60 million Americans who are prone to developing cold sores then you already know how long they last and how bad they can get.
Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and present themselves as small clusters of blisters on your lip or the skin around your mouth. At first, before the blisters form, you can sometimes feel them starting by feeling a little soreness at the spot where they will develop or even feel a tingling sensation in the same area. If you do feel them coming on and can get treatment started immediately, they may only last a few days or not even amount to anything at all.
If they do become full blown cold sores you will have the blisters, redness and pain to go along with them. The blisters are filled with a clear fluid that drains out of the blisters after a few days. The cold sores are contagious up until the time they are scabbed over and dry. They may still be very painful at this point, though, and you will still want to refrain from kissing anyone until they are fully healed.
The herpes simplex virus gets spread from person to person through direct contact with the infected person or the clear fluid that gets transferred from the infected person to eating utensils or anything else they put in their mouth. Cold sores are not exclusive to the area around the mouth either, they can spread to other areas of the body and the herpes simplex virus also causes genital herpes.
There is no cure for the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, and once you have it, you have it for life. Diagnosis is easy since cold sores are so visible. If you get cold sores often or they become so severely painful you should see your doctor for treatment. He or she can prescribe a medication to assist in answering the how long do cold sores last question and reduce the number you get and their severity.
There are many over the counter treatments available and they may help some but for the most part there is only one over the counter medication that I have tried that actually helps significantly. This medication works best, though, only if you can get it to the cold sore immediately before the blisters form. If the blisters form, it may still help in healing them up a little quicker but you will not want to use it if the blisters have already opened up. This is a very painful experience.
Some things you should keep in mind so you do not spread the virus when you get a cold sore are to wash your hands often and do not touch the cold sore, you will only succeed in spreading the virus. Avoid triggers like increased stressful situations, excessive exposure to sunlight, even catching a cold or the flu can be a trigger. Also avoid sharing utensils, towels, razors or other things the infected person has used.
How long do cold sores last depends on how soon you start treating them and how severe they are to begin with.